Caron Butler Officially Agrees to Deal with Oklahoma City Thunder

Alex KayCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2014

USA Today

Caron Butler, a free agent since negotiating a buyout from the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 27, has signed a contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Butler confirmed the move on Saturday:

Daily Thunder reporter Royce Young supplies Sam Presti's statement:

“We are pleased to welcome Caron Butler to the Thunder organization and to Oklahoma City,” said Sam Presti in a statement. “Caron represents what we look for in a Thunder player and will positively impact our team. His toughness, hard-nosed defense, resiliency and highly regarded professionalism will only enhance our depth and bring additional versatility to the roster.”

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first reported the news:

Butler, a two-time All-Star, is a great signing at this juncture for Oklahoma City. The 12-year veteran is a capable scorer with plenty left in the tank after languishing on an abysmal Bucks squad for much of the 2013-14 campaign.

The Wisconsin native was playing out the final year of his contract and owed $8 million for the season prior to the buyout, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. He was released ahead of the March 1 deadline to be eligible to contribute in the postseason with another team.

The 33-year-old holds career averages of 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, but he saw his numbers sink to 11.0, 4.6 and 1.6 during his time with a team that was a mere 11-45 at the time he was cut free.

Butler has been anticipating joining a contending team for some time, telling Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel in January that he was looking forward to escaping his dreadful situation in Milwaukee.

"I know I'll be in a good situation because it can't get worse," Butler said. "If something was to happen, I know I will be going somewhere pretty good and I'm definitely ready to compete at a high level. I'm definitely well-rested. I'm healthy and I feel good."

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

He should see much more consistent playing time with the Thunder, as Bucks head coach Larry Drew would put the swingman on the floor for wildly inconsistent minutes.

Butler would log 40 minutes in some contests (such as a Dec. 21 showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers) and as little as eight in others (a New Year’s Eve matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers). With the Bucks well out of contention, it was time for the team to move on from the veteran and open the rotation up for younger players to earn valuable minutes.

How he'll rotate in for Oklahoma City remains to be seen, but Butler will definitely be a steady contributor as a scoring option behind stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Given the state of the Thunder roster and its mostly consistent starting five, it's hard to envision him being more than a top scoring option in their second string. 

Butler’s veteran savvy will be useful come playoff time, as the UConn product has six trips to the postseason under his belt. He has a championship ring stemming from his time as a member of the 2011 Dallas Mavericks, but he was not active for the team’s playoff run due to a season-ending knee injury.

This signing should certainly afford Butler an opportunity to contend for a second title. Hopefully he can stay healthy and be an active participant during the playoffs.