Caron Butler’s only contribution to the Phoenix Suns very well could have come in a summer fashion show.
Two weeks after donning the new Suns uniforms during their debut at Scottsdale Fashion Square, the forward acquired within the deal that sent to the Los Angeles Clippers could be on his way to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Racine Journal Times’ Gery Woelfel first reported that Butler was the key part of a trade discussion between Phoenix and Milwaukee that is currently ongoing. ESPN’s Marc Stein confirmed the report and then added Butler has been told he is on the move for the second time this summer.
It’s unclear what the Suns would receive, but from their previous offseason moves it’s a good guess that picks, cash, young assets or a combination of the three could be involved.
Update: Paul Coro reports Slava Kravtsov and Ish Smith, but not a pick will come Phoenix’s way.
Because of the Bucks’ cap situation, they don’t have to give up a whole lot to obtain Butler. Benchwarmers like Ish Smith or Slava Kravtsov could come back to Phoenix. In such a case, the Suns would simply save a huge chunk of Butler’s salary while opening up playing time for younger players. But as general manager Ryan McDonough has showed already, it’s about getting a little something extra, be it a late pick or otherwise.
As @BrettEP noted, the Suns might want someone like Ekpe Udoh (plus picks) in Caron Butler deal: Big with potential they can extend or cut.
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) August 29, 2013
As for the Bucks, such an acquisition seems like another odd move for a team not playing the tanking game or the winning one. Milwaukee has refused to rework itself completely and made more than questionable offseason dealings. One of them, signing swingman Carlos Delfino, won’t be a known result for longer — Defino is recovering from a foot fracture, and an addition of Butler at least covers that absence. And it doesn’t hurt that Butler is a Racine, Wisc., native.
The good news in Phoenix because of it: Before the Bucks extended big man Larry Sanders, their biggest move of the summer was bringing on O.J. Mayo, and if the Suns receive a first-round draft pick in the next few years, it’s not unreasonable to assume it’ll turn into a top-15 pick.
Butler’s contract, the largest on the roster at $8 million next season, runs out after this season. If he remained a Sun, Butler was arguably going to play Jermaine O’Neal of last season as the veteran leader of a rebuilding team. In a story published last week, Butler even told NBA.com’s Jeff Caplan he was ready to take that role.
Butler was specifically open about mentoring the troubled, using “would” rather than “will” seemingly because of Beasley’s touchy status on the team.
“I would stay in his ear, I would definitely stay in his ear,” Butler said. “I would continue to motivate him and I would challenge him night-in and night-out, in practice, just whatever I can do to make him better I would do as a human being, and obviously as a basketball player because I think he has tremendous upside still. He’s just 24 years old.”
Now, it appears as if Butler will be on the way out first.
After Butler told NBA.com he wasn’t told of his trade from Los Angeles to Phoenix, he at least went out of his way to tweet a thanks to the Suns organization.
Much respect for the organization of the Phx Suns#staytuned
— Caron Butler (@realtuffjuice) August 29, 2013