Sensible solutions to problems that don't really exist just seem to find the Miami Heat.
Caron Butler now appears to be another one of those solutions.
Still headlined by the biggest of NBA Big Threes, the Heat aren't ever desperate. Problems that actually exist are routinely magnified and exaggerated in attempts to humanize the league's most omnipotent team, but they're never hard up for options.
Long criticized for their size, the Heat brought in Chris Andersen last season, who is now a steady rotation player. Efforts to further increase their size after a second straight title led them to Greg Oden, the injury-prone project already paying incremental dividends. And because they're the Heat, they offered refuge (again) to Michael Beasley just for kicks.
Each of those signings came with a calculated risk, but they made sense for Miami—just like a potential reunion with Butler.
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski brought word that Butler's stay in Milwaukee is officially over:
Caron Butler has reached a contract buyout agreement with the Milwaukee Bucks, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 27, 2014
Per Woj, the Heat are among the favorites, if not the absolute favorite to sign him:
Oklahoma City and Miami have emerged as frontrunners to sign Caron Butler, with Chicago and San Antonio in pursuit too, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 27, 2014
Of course Butler will sign with the Heat. Who in his exact position wouldn't?
Butler spent his first two NBA seasons in Miami before being shipped to the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the Shaquille O'Neal trade. At this point in his career, the 33-year-old is due to return where it all started.
Having now played for six different teams during his 11-plus-year career, Butler won one title in 2011 but missed the entire playoff run—and second half of the season—because of a season-ending injury. There aren't any better opportunities than what the two-time defending champions present at his disposal.
More importantly, there isn't a better fit for either party.
The Heat have always been expected to be major players in the buyout market. Thin on expendable trade assets that can yield valuable returns, midseason free-agency signings are Miami's trade deadline. This is the Heat's 11th hour, when they shore up their roster and rotation in time for a stretch run.
And as Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick points out, they're going to need someone accustomed to the role they have available:
Anyone who comes to Heat is getting spot minutes at most. Would Heat fans rather have Caron Butler or Danny Granger get shot at ring?— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) February 26, 2014
Limited playing time doesn't suit everyone—especially those who routinely played 30-plus minutes and were the first or second scoring option in years past. Butler has been through that transition.
While with the Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers, Butler was a source of instant offense. He's averaging 10.6 points and 37.9 percent shooting from deep since last season, numbers that have come in a shade over 24 minutes per game.
That's perfect for the Heat, who won't have much playing time available for anyone they bring in. Nor will they have many touches available with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh still shouldering most of the offensive burden.
What they really need is a player who can score in bursts off the ball, which should lead them to Butler. Per Synergy Sports (subscription required), Butler is drilling 41.3 percent of his spot-up three-pointers this season, making him valuable in the frequent drive-and-kick exercises James and Wade implement.
Above all, Butler also fits seamlessly into Miami's winning culture and team-first attitude, so much so that his arrival would mean all smiles for Wade:
And if the Heat sign Butler, you wouldn't be able to wipe smile off Wade's face for a while.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) February 26, 2014
The two played just one season together—Wade's rookie year—and Butler was in Miami for only two, but he left an impression, in part because of his enthused selflessness:
Caron used to show up at the arena on his off day & ask what he could do in the community. Then got traded (for Shaq) b4 team took off.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) February 26, 2014
Skolnick actually says he's among the most respected Heat players ever:
Not many people who have passed through Heat organization have been more appreciated than Caron Butler. So now we wait...— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) February 26, 2014
If that's the impression Butler left in two years, as an inexperienced neophyte, imagine what he can do as a veteran who's been around the block and back multiple times.
Immediate impact, in every sense of the phrase, is what the Heat need. Only those capable of exemplifying their heightened sense of off- and on-court camaraderie are of value to them. For the most part, that's why their team is structured the way it is.
Miami's supporting cast is littered with players ready and willing to make sacrifices—guys like Shane Battier and Ray Allen. In some ways, Butler is one in the same as someone who only stands to enhance their fun-loving, three-peat-hunting dynamic.
Even when he's frustrated, he's serene and respectable; soft spoken, yet deliberate and decisive. We saw as much during his time in Milwaukee.
Is Caron Butler the right fit for the Heat?
"The information I received before coming here is that 'You're going to play a lot,'" Butler said in January of his situation, per the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel's Charles F. Gardner. "And I want to play. I want to be out there to help the situation."
At every stop, especially over the last five years, Butler has done everything asked of him, carrying himself with the confidence of a star and humility of a seasoned veteran who wants to help.
Now he has the opportunity to return to Miami, where he's already appreciated and needed, and where he's recognized as the perfect player to round out the Heat's championship-seeking roster.