The NBA free-agent extravaganza is getting ready to kick off, and there will be a flurry of moves the like of which we haven't seen since...well, since the summer when the NFL came back. One of the best players on the market is Caron Butler, and he has become the object of the New Jersey Nets' desire.
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Butler is going to meet with the Nets tonight. He has been making the rounds this week, so it will be imperative for them to throw a good pitch at him if they want him to sign.
As ESPN's Chris Broussard tweeted, there are four teams in on Butler right now. Two teams can offer him the chance to contend for a title but not as much money. The other two teams can offer him more money but not necessarily the chance to compete for a championship this year.
The Nets need to make a splash of some sort this offseason because they are getting ready to move into a new arena, and they are still trying to convince Deron Williams that New Jersey, or Brooklyn, is the best place for him to win a championship.
Butler is not the difference-making player that the Nets need to get into contention in the Eastern Conference. He is more of a complementary piece on a playoff team, but the Nets would need him to be a focal point of the offense.
As things stand right now, I don't see money being enough to lure Butler to New Jersey. I think that if he does decide that he wants to take the bigger deal, I would bet on him going to Los Angeles.
The Clippers are closer to contending than the Nets, Blake Griffin has made this franchise a lot more desirable to free agents than it was just 12 months ago and Butler will be able to put up better numbers with Griffin commanding double-teams in the post.
The Nets just don't strike me as a destination where someone of Butler's stature—I use that term loosely—is going to want to play. It would be great for them if they could grab him, but all things being equal, I don't see him taking his talents to New Jersey.