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Report: Thunder join Heat as frontrunners to sign Caron Butler

Feb 27, 2014, 1:58 PM EDT

Bucks Butler Basketball AP

When word leaked out that Caron Butler and the Milwaukee Bucks were working on a buyout, it was almost instantaneous with reports he would land in Miami. There’s some logic to that — Butler played in Miami and was very popular in the locker room (Dwyane Wade is a fan) and in the community, plus the Heat are looking for someone they can trust to take on minutes while Wade is remains on his knees maintenance program.

But another team is in the mix as a leader — the Oklahoma City Thunder.

That according to Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

The fact that Oklahoma City stopped pursuing Danny Granger has led many in the NBA to believe the Thunder are confident in their recruitment of Butler….

Despite initial reports that Butler was destined to sign with Miami, Oklahoma City has a strong chance to land Butler, sources told Yahoo Sports. The Heat are competing to lure Butler back to where his career started as the 10th overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft, but the ability to fill the gap as a complementary scorer to Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has made the Thunder an attractive destination, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Oklahoma City could move Durant to power forward and slide Butler into the small forward spot in different lineup variations.

San Antonio and Chicago also are expected to try and woo Butler, but they have a lot of ground to make up.

There is a fit in OKC. With the attention Kevin Durant draws and the slashing of Russell Westbrook a reliable spot-up shooter could serve the Thunder well and that is what Butler is at this point in his career. He got 35 percent of his shots in Milwaukee this season on spot ups and hit 41.9 percent from three on those and scored 1.08 points per possession (stats via Synergy Sports). He would get more of those looks, and likely more open ones, in Oklahoma City. Butler also can score in transition and plays with a good basketball IQ.

Where he gets in trouble on offense is when he has to create shots for himself — he is shooting 33 percent in isolation this season. He’s not that guy anymore. Nor is he a good on-ball defender anymore and can be exposed on that end.

In Miami Butler would get looks both in transition and also as a spot up guy, he would also get a lot of run as the Heat try to keep Wade’s knees right for the postseason.

Butler has options; the question is would he feel more comfortable in Miami or Oklahoma City? Either way he should be going from the NBA’s worst team (by record) in Milwaukee to a serious title contender.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - Feb 27, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Really? Seriously?

  2. progress2011 - Feb 27, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    So FUNNY to read these articles…..with EVERY Free Agent or potential trade….Heat, Thunder or Indy are supposedly the Front Runners…..

    Absolutely Hilarious!

    • fanofthegame79 - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:15 PM

      Don’t leave out the Clippers and the Bulls, too.

  3. bhunter1995 - Feb 27, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    The Thunder will be more attractive to Butler IMO. On the Heat, Butler will get no playing time, maybe 6-8 minutes per game. He won’t be a ball handler as much as a spot up three point shooter. On the Thunder he will be a big part of thier rotation and he will be tasked with putting the ball on the floor and scoring along with spot up opportunities. The Heat have too many wing players and the Thunder have too few. Butler knows this and it will definitely be part of his decision making.

    • unxpexted1 - Feb 27, 2014 at 2:35 PM

      I dont even understand why the heat keep having interest in more SF’s. I really thought they should have went after big baby or any other big that was out there then another 3 man.

      • kinggw - Feb 27, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        Butler is a wing, meaning he can play the two or the three. The Heat need another wing because they are tightening their rotations. They are going to have to spell Wade some games and they dont want to use Allen because he plays much better with the second unit. Adding another wing allows Allen to maintain his role with the second unit and also helps to keep Wade and Allen fresh for the playoffs.

      • progress2011 - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        I question if the Heat has any interest in most of these reports. They don’t seem to be desperate to upset the “chemistry” of their locker-room.

        As back-to-back champions, and currently neck and neck in the East with Indy…splitting the season match-up….why would they want Butler or any of the other SCRUBS recently mentioned (Bynum, Big-Baby, Granger etc. etc. etc. ).

        If the Heat were going to make a move, I think it would only be for a Big, Athletic, Young Center ….aka Andre Drummond in Detroit.

        Drummond, Bosh and LBJ would be the new big 3 ….as we will have to let D-Wade retire dem knees…..hahahahaha

  4. kb2408 - Feb 27, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    The Thunder could use him but they need another big that can score inside. They are a very good team but it still seems like something is missing.

    • bjswoosh805 - Feb 27, 2014 at 11:57 PM

      i agree OKC is missing a center who can score in the low post or maybe a center whos consisent, 10 and 10 big man like Robin Lopez.

  5. antistratfordian - Feb 27, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    Hmmm. Sounds like it might be the same thing that happened with San Antonio being named co-frontrunners with Miami for Greg Oden. Butler would want to have another franchise’s name out there just to keep Miami honest.

  6. drewdatwit84 - Feb 28, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    is it just me or are all the other 29 teams making damn sure the Heat sign NO ONE ELSE of quality to the roster… every time a decent player is available, another team goes HARD after that player so the Heat have no shot to get him.. I could spin that into a compliment as a testament to the fear of God placed by the Heat to the rest of the league, but STILL… damn… let us get SOMEBODY… jeez…

    • bougin89 - Feb 28, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      No, playoffs teams usually go hard after veterans on minimum contracts. It’s the nature of the business i.e. at this point in the season tanking/teams with no chance buyout/waive veterans and contending teams usually don’t have cap space and after the trade deadline they can’t trade for anyone so the veterans on minimum contracts are their best option.

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