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Caron Butler is tired of being on entertaining teams, he'll take dull and a ring

Aug 17, 2010, 12:56 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Butler_Dunk.jpgVariations of this theme seem to play out wherever Caron Butler goes.

Last season heading into the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks looked like the team ready to test the Lakers. Dallas was the two seed, they had won 7 of 10 including five in a row. There was a quiet, veteran confidence around the team.

Then the San Antonio Spurs bounced them in the first round.

Butler doesn’t like it. He was on teams that were fun to watch with the Heat, the Lakers and there were a lot of “what could have beens” in Washington. Dallas felt different, but it wasn’t. He said it is time for a change.

“You’ve got the war wounds,” Butler said from his Washington D.C. home last week. “You’ve been through the trying times off the court not achieving your goal. You’ve been working hard all summer long then to fall short, that hurts. It’s time to feel the other side of that and let somebody else feel this.”

That’s why Butler has been in the gym and riding his bike, why he’s heading up to Tim Grover’s in Chicago to work out with the guru for a month. He wants the taste of champagne in his mouth through next summer.

And he believes Dallas is close. They just need to get more stops.

“Controlling the glass, focusing on defense,” need to be the focus, Butler said. “Because we can score with the best of them. We have a great player, we have a Hall of Fame point guard and whole bunch of other guys that want to get it done and are willing to sacrifice whatever to win. We’ve just got to put it all together and we will.”

Having centers like Brendan Haywood and bringing in Tyson Chandler helps with that, he added.

“Tyson is a guy who brings a lot of energy and athleticism to our front line. I’m looking forward to playing along side of him and pushing toward the ultimate goal of winning a championship,” Butler said.

Dallas, with their efficient offense, can be fun to watch — but no team Butler was on was probably more fun to watch than the Miami Heat in 2003. That squad had Butler, Lamar Odom, Eddie Jones, Brian Grant at his peak, a young Dwyane Wade and was just bursting with promise.

“It was fun, it was real fun,” Butler said of those days. “I obviously really miss Miami, but I have great guys there, I have friendships with Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, my big brother Eddie Jones and obviously our man Dwyane Wade.”

But Butler went to Los Angeles (along with Odom) as part of the Shaquille O’Neal trade. A trade that brought a ring to Miami. But does Butler ever think about what might have been if the Heat had let that young core ride?

“At times I do, but you don’t want to think about it too much,” he said. “And you never know what could happen, you could team up with those guys again.”

Butler went to Los Angeles, where he and Kobe Bryant became tight and the Lakers started to show promise — then Butler was shipped to Washington with Kwame Brown (who eventually was traded for Pau Gasol, bringing titles to L.A.) In Washington Butler was teamed with Gilbert Arenas and Antwan Jamison on a squad that looked on paper like it should have been better than it was. Then last season that team imploded around the Arenas gun charges.

But Butler landed on his feet, traded to a contending Dallas squad and… well, we’ve been down that road.

Butler has too, and he wants a change.

“I definitely have been on some real good teams that had the talent to make it to that next level, but somehow some way fell short,” Butler said. “I don’t want that to be the situation here in Dallas. I look forward to taking it to the next level.”

  1. johnmaine - Aug 17, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    J.R. Moehringer, author of the LeBron James GQ piece, was interviewed & has some FASCINATING things to say. http://bit.ly/dhV8Pi

  2. Drew - Aug 17, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    Dallas should be better this season – maybe even a #2 seed but it’s hard to imagine them competing with the Lakers in a seven-game series. They are a bit more athletic now, which should help them though.

  3. Justin Credible - Aug 18, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    His drive for success was apparent in the playoffs where he was the only player that stepped it up on offense and managed to combine with Dirk for almost half of the Dallas Mavericks’ points each game. It’s a shame that the rotations put in place against SAS included benching our 2nd best scorer and our best defender so that the three guard lineup could get torched for an entire 2nd half.
    I still thoroughly believe that if the rotations had been different we would’ve made a deep run.
    @ Drew: One of the huge things that makes the Lakers so successful is not only their athleticism (remember, Fisher is their starting point), rather their size. If having 5 players at or around 7 foot doesn’t help match with size (along with a 6’7″ 2 guard)then I don’t know what will.

  4. Eagleye - Aug 18, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    Justincredible,
    Don’t blame the playoff loss on the coaching. The mavs were, as they have been for years, a one star team. San Antonio had three. You gush over his playoff production, but his playoff PER in Dallas last playoffs was a 17.8. According to Hollinger’s PER system, that is a player that is a “third banana”.
    The year Detroit won the title with several allstar level players instead of a couple of superstars, they had 3 guys over 18 and four over 17.
    Dallas had one over 18 in last years playoffs. Building a team with the kind of talent it takes to win the playoffs in the NBA is the problem. Not the coach. And, unless Butler starts producing higher PER numbers than he has ever done in his career, the Mavs should count on him to be nothing more than a third banana type player. That means their front office needs to add at least two MORE “allstar” level players. And they didn’t add anyone with those kind of PERs this offseason.
    Maybe they need a new GM that knows how to build teams for the playoffs?

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