NBA journeyman Caron Butler started his career nearly a decade ago with promise fresh out of UConn. Then troubles with consistency on Miami and the LA Lakers respectively stymied is growth. After that, Tuff Juice got a spark in the Wizards as he racked up back to back All Star selections in 2007 and 2008. A key trade in the 09-10 season to Dallas should’ve continued his solid run but an early playoff exit and a season ending injury last year set up more roadblocks for the veteran.
Now Caron’s reportedly looking for a new home as Dallas will probably exercise the mid level amnesty clause on him. ESPN’s Chris Brossard said he’s looking at San Antonio, New Jersey, Chicago and the LA Clippers as potential new squads with deals ranging from $5-7 million a year. Butler’s best days may be past him but all of the squads mentioned would no doubt benefit from his services. Now the question of the hour is which franchise is the right fit?
Starting things off, I’d like to see Chicago sign him as a starting 2 guard. Butler’s naturally a 3 but his perimeter game is solid enough for him to take Keith Bogans place. Besides, as you may or may not know, Bogans shouldn’t be starting anyway despite his ability to defend. Butler could be the missing link the Bulls need to go over the top as he’s already a good perimeter defender. His scoring from the wing and via slashing is an added bonus and, as seen last year in the playoffs, Derrick Rose can’t do it all by himself.
Full disclosure, I’m a Nets fan (shut up), and I’d like to see Butler sign with the squad. But I can’t see him coming to Jersey for any reason other than the $7 mill Jersey reportedly offered him. His history with injuries sends up red flags and NJ already made a bonehead $7 mill deal for Travis Outlaw. NJ’s management shouldn’t fill cap space for the sake of it. Plus, with no Deron Williams in sight and Dwight Howard’s extremely slim chance at being an addition I just can’t see him taking that check unless he’s that driven by finances.
Next up, the Clips could actually be a solid choice for Caron since their young roster desperately needs guidance. Moreover, he’d definitely start out the gate while the Clips develop into a long shot playoff contender. A three man tandem of Eric Gordon, Caron Butler and Blake Griffin reads weirdly on paper but you never know. They could create some magic if they get some chemistry going.
Finally, the old folks home in San Antonio would be a good fit for Butler as they’re already looking to dump Richard Jefferson. Butler’s a cut above RJ and he’s disciplined enough to adapt to Pop’s coaching style. It’s do or die time for the franchise and optimism likes to suggest Butler will be a lynchpin for one last Spurs run. Yet he could easily end up as another vet low on fumes on an aging squad.
Going after Caron definitely has its risks but he can still contribute if given the chance. I’d say, with NBA salaries being what they are, $5 Mill a year is just right for his talents. Most importantly, he can be that X-Factor teams need to advance. Now we’ll just have to wait and see where he ends up. In the meantime, I might as well throw up this stellar photochop from when he was in Washington while you wait. Trust me, it’ll make ending this piece much less awkward.