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Caron Butler nearly returned to Miami

Jan 15, 2012, 10:26 PM EDT

Clippers' Butler tries to strip the ball from Lakers shooting guard Bryant during NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles Reuters

Caron Butler was part of a pretty special team in Miami. It featured Dwyane Wade in his rookie season, Lamar Odom, and Butler. It was a young, athletic team with players starting to come into their own. They upset the Hornets in the first round and then gave the Pacers a run in the second round before losing in six games. Then Pat Riley threw everything out there to get Shaq, and the dream was gone. It worked out for Miami because if you can win a title, you do the deal, no matter what it is. That validates everything. But it was a special team with great chemistry, and you have to wonder what could have been.

Apparently that thought is with Caron Butler as well, because Butler told our own Ira Winderman, writing for the Sun-Sentinel, that he nearly came back to Miami as a free agent.

“I was very close to coming back,” Butler, the Heats first-round pick in 2002 NBA Draft, said Wednesday, when the Heat faced the Clippers at Staples Center. “It was very close. I talked to my agent and I went to visit San Antonio and after I went to visit New Jersey, my next visit would have been Miami.”

Thats when the Clippers not only sprung their three-year, $24 million offer, but said they needed an immediate decision from the veteran small forward, as if they knew the sway Riley and Dwyane Wade might hold.

“The Clippers had put an offer on the table that I couldnt refuse,” Butler said on the night his 20 points went a long way toward defeating the Heat in overtime.

via Caron Butler says he considered signing with Miami Heat during NBA free agency – South Florida

Butler would have fit well on the Heat, maybe even better than Shane Battier because of his mid-range jumper. Battier’s shooting leaves a lot to be desired and the Heat need a zone buster.

But you can’t go home again, and Butler took a huge deal that had many people wondering if the Clippers were insane for making. It’s going to look way worse in three years, but this season, Butler’s been worth it, as evidence by both his shooting earlier this week and his defense on Kobe Bryant Saturday night. But it’s nice to think of what could have been. Those teams that were for a short while and could have been have a special kind of infamy in the eyes of fans.


  1. mlblogsbig3bosox - Jan 15, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    The 2004 Heat team didn’t upset the Hornets. They were the 4th seed and the Hornets were the 5th seed. A pretty even matchup and even if the Hornets had won, I wouldn’t consider that an upset since it was a 1 game diff. in the standings (Heat 42 wins, Hornets 41). Now the Indiana series was something else (Indiana won 61 games that year)…

  2. eureca323 - Jan 15, 2012 at 11:52 PM

    Caron is playing better then I thought he would right now coming off that injury. He is mainly a jump shooter though from what I have seen. It comes down to money. Clippers offered way more money. Heat can only offer 3 million per year. Clippers gave him 8 million per year. And it ended up working out great for Caron. Hes a starter on a talented team that now has CP3. Instead of a bench player on the Heat for way less money.

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