Caron Butler was bought out by the Milwaukee Bucks this morning and it is already being reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat are the two frontrunners to sign him.
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.
Butler played the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers before joining the Bucks this season. He has played in 34 games, averaging 11.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game while shooting 36.1 percent from the three-point line.
Butler is about as quality a player the Thunder could have acquired this time of year without making a trade.
The Thunder are $2.3 million under the luxury tax so they would likely be signing Butler for an amount that would keep them beneath this tax.
Butler could be a good fit alongside Kevin Durant when the Thunder go small. Butler is a very tough, confident player that could provide an edge and veteran experience to the Thunder locker room.
Butler is also another body the Thunder could use on LeBron James.
Butler might mean less minutes for Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb and Derek Fisher. The Thunder are in “win now” mode and the front office may believe that signing Butler for a year and putting the development of Lamb and Jones on the backburner might be worth it.
I don’t think signing Butler would hurt at all, especially if he starts getting some of Fisher’s minutes and possibly even some of Reggie Jackson’s crunch time burn. It would allow the Thunder to play small while having just one point guard on the floor, something they rarely do now.
Butler’s nickname is “Tuff Juice” and after watching the Thunder last night, a little tuff juice may be exactly what this team needs.