Nov 30, 2011, 3:08 PM EDT
Caron Butler is 32 years old and coming off knee surgery that forced him to miss the second half of last season and the playoffs for the Dallas Mavericks. Injured and getting old (by NBA standards) is not usually a combo that has teams clamoring for a guy.
But in a sign of the market and respect for Butler, a lot of big-time teams with title aspirations are lining up for a shot to bring him in.
Six teams have expressed early interest in UFA Caron Butler: Nets, Clippers, Bulls, Heat, Spurs and Knicks, per sources.
You can add the Mavericks to that list, as well. Dallas may have a massive payroll but as the most punitive parts of the luxury tax don’t kick in for a couple years Mark Cuban is willing to spend a little. Plus, with Butler in the lineup the first half of last season the Mavs were a power (that they maintained it in the playoffs with him gone was the impressive part).
As for the other teams, the Heat could use him to space the floor (he shot 43.1 percent from three pre-injury last season) and he would be a slasher who could spell those other wing guys Miami has on the roster.
He would be a fantastic answer for the Bulls at the two guard spot, a guy who can create shots so it all doesn’t fall to Derrick Rose. The Spurs need anybody athletic on the wing for depth and Butler qualifies. The Clippers desperately need a three and Butler would be an upgrade for them. He’s be an upgrade at the two for the Knicks and Butler’s respectable defense is an upgrade over what they have had at the wing. The Nets need every warm body they can get, Butler qualifies.
With all these teams in the bidding you can expect the price for Butler to be up around the mid-level exception of $5 million. Not cheap, but worth it if Butler is healthy and has bounced back to his old self of a slightly above average NBA wing. If not… well, that;s the risk.
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