As first reported on Fox Sports late yesterday the Clippers have acquired shooting guard Rasual Butler and cash from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for a conditional second-round draft pick and cash.
This conditional draft pick is in the year 2016. That is right 2-0-1-6. Another way to read this is that the Hornets have paid the Clippers to take Butler's contract.
Butler was scheduled to make $3.945 million this coming season and then become a free agent. This move, combined with the Okafor-Chandler deal brings the Hornets under or close to the luxury cap level, pending the value of the contract of newly acquired Ike Diogu.
The Clippers had cap room to be able to take Butler's contract because of the $7.3 million trade exception created by sending Zach Randolph to Memphis last month.
After following a vigorous training routine last summer, Butler earned the starting shooting guard position for the Hornets. This resulted in his best season of his career, averaging 11.2 points and 3.3 rebounds.
Butler played in all 82 regular season games for the Hornets as well as in the five games of the playoff series against the Nuggets.
Although a solid player, Butler is netiher a natural shooting guard nor a natural starter. He contributes best when coming off the bench as the small forward.
I do not believe general manager Jeff Bower is finished dealing. The Hornets still need to shed $4 million more in net payroll before February 2010 to get below what is projected to be a lower cap-level for the 2010-11 season.
Butler's departure leaves Julian Wright and rookie Marcus Thornton to battle for time a the two guard spot. My money is on Thornton.