Bucks to add Caron Butler, according to report

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With a one-month, off-season stint in Phoenix, Butler won’t get his money’s worth from his Suns-themed ensemble. (Photo credit: NBA.com)

According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, the Bucks will acquire small forward Caron Butler from the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns have agreed to trade Butler, a Racine, Wis., native, to the Milwaukee Bucks for point guard Ish Smith and center Slava Kravtsov about seven weeks after they acquired Butler and hailed him as a veteran influence for the youthful Suns and part of the future.

While starting 78 games for the Los Angeles Clippers last season, Butler, 33, averaged 10.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game on shooting splits of 42% FG/39% 3-ptFG/83% FT. His per-possession numbers (from Synergy) are good and comparable with Carlos Delfino’s:  0.97 points scored on offense and 0.96 points allowed on defense (compared to 1.00 and 0.95 for Delfino).

The move eats into the Bucks’ cap room, as Milwaukee swapped roughly $2.5 million of unusable contracts ($1.5 million for Kravtsov plus about $950,000 for Smith) for Butler’s expiring $8 million deal.  The Bucks have three small forwards on the roster already — Delfino, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Khris Middleton — but Delfino is likely out for the beginning of the season as his foot heals, and Middleton and Antetokounmpo have yet to show that they are prepped for extended minutes.

The Bucks didn’t give up much in terms of personnel.  With 16 players under contract, they were likely going to have to cut Kravtsov or Smith anyway to get to the maximum roster size of 15, and the holdover from that duo wasn’t going to sniff the rotation.  Essentially, the Bucks are paying an extra $5.5 million to snag a starting caliber small forward.

It’s painful to see the Bucks blow a chunk of their cap room on a ‘win now’ player, but the move won’t keep Milwaukee from swapping with a cap-strapped team at the deadline.  If there is a team willing to dump high-priced, but useful talent on the Bucks at the deadline, Butler and his expiring contract can be moved — especially after he’s filled in long enough for Delfino to return.  As an added bonus, such an exit would time well an entrance for the youngsters that could further submerge the Bucks into tank mode a youth movement as the 2014 Draft approaches.

Categories: Trade Rumors

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  1. Can someone please explain to me why they couldn’t manage this deal as part of the Bledsoe trade?

    Was there no shot of the Bucks doing a two team deal and landed Bledsoe and Caron or are they just that incompetent that they said no to it and now decided they want Caron anyhow?

    • I question that too, plus I’m not a fan of trading Ish Smith as part of this deal even though depth at the SF position was a concern. They should have tried moving veteran Luke Ridnour instead of the young Ish Smith.

    • I believe it was for salary reasons, Bucks had cap holds on several players so Butler’s salary was too much to take on at the time. Bucks never had any chance at landing Bledsoe in a straight up deal with the Clips

  2. Ish Smith & Slava were not gone get any mins this yr on bucks.. Absolutely ZERO.. I don’t wanna hear this garbage about a painful WIN NOW move.. Butler is a better player then Delfino.. He just cant go 30+mins a night anymore.. Bucks got a veteran starter on expiring contract and gave up absolutely nothing.. Id rather make playoffs getting 6-8th seed with Brandon Knight OJ Mayo John Henson & Larry Sanders then potentially get top pick in draft.. Knock the dumb Ish off

    • Yes,totally agree. This is the greatest move a Bucks fan can ask for in this position (16 players and needed a better SF with experience). Kudos to John Hammond. This team actually now has nice depth at every position and may surprise some of these haters (even the pretend Bucks fans that want to lose to get a top five draft pick that will most likely do nothing for us). Welcome home, Caron!!!

      • RJ you do realize that over the last 22 years only 4 teams have won the championship without a top five pick and two of those years were the Lakers who had Kobe(who had played a year of college would have been a top five pick).
        08-KG,Ray Allen
        12-13-James, Wade

        You sir are an idiot if you don’t think top 5 picks are important and will do nothing for us.

        • The 18th pick next season, according to Mock Drafts, is Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon. Last season, Gordon would have been a top five pick on athleticism alone.

          Not all top five picks are created equal.

  3. Lord hear me….1000 Blessings for LOL….I love, absolutely LOVE your post!! :)

    I too share the success driven attitude you displayed. A 6-8 seed with a team like Knight,Butler,Mayo,Henson,Sanders would be frickin AWESOME!
    Imagine the BMOBC rocking with this NEW and greatly IMPROVED Bucks team during a playoff series. Yes..I said improved! Look at the roster from last season and compare it to this new lineup. Can any1 honestly state that last seasons team was better?? Cmon now…put the glass pipe down!

    Ive been soooooo anxious this summer…autumn is approaching, November will be here soon. Cant wait to proudly cheer my favorite team on the planet!


    • @LOL, Bucks Fan, & happyfeethustle –

      I’m not saying I don’t support the move to acquire the C.Butler to add depth to the SF position since we really needed it and he’s certainly an improvement over Delfino, but I’d rather the Bucks not have given up a young I.Smith considering what he was demonstrating over the summer league in running the point, is on a very affordable contract this year and next, plus is someone who has an upward potential swing verses someone (L.Ridnour) who’s aging and will likely see a continued downward trend in his statistics even if he might be a better player this year than Smith; plus, he’ll likely only be with the team for this season.

      But alas considering C.Butler and L.Ridnour will come off the books next year and we maintained keeping E.Udoh this season too for added frontcourt depth which will help the Bucks in defending against players such as L.James & C.Anthony this year when they’re playing the PF position I am by no means a complete debbie downer on this trade.

      As for whether or not I rather the team make the 6th-8th seed verses getting the top or a top draft pick in the upcoming NBA draft well that would completely depend on the method of how we earn the 6-8th seed in getting into the playoffs. If the Bucks have a rough first half of the season but go on a monster tear during the second half especially leading right up to the playoffs, similar to the ‘Fear the Dear’ season, and there’s a true belief that they could actually have a legit chance/opportunity to make some noise in the playoffs, dare I say even compete with some of the top team in a best of 7… sure, absolutely; however, if they’re a clear one and done team once again with only a margin of potential upward promise for the following season then… hell no, I’d rather see the team get a decent chance at finding a potential NBA-ready star player, or eventual superstar player, which for the most part is needed to have any chance at an NBA title.

      @Ted – True, good points.

  4. I don’t understand why anyone in this is against this trade. Smith and Slava were never going to be part of the Bucks plan, whether thats next year or 6 years from now, they would never have gotten any ample playing time, nor would they most likely have shown any sort of potential. The Bucks picked up a player that could potentially put them over the edge in certain games (against teams like NY and Miami) and could make stuff very interesting come playoff time. You got a strong serviceable player with an expiring contract for 2 players (1 which you wouldve NEEDED to cut) that you would never have used anyways. How can you be against this trade?

  5. Just to clarify with everyone else who is posting here. Not one mention of Ersan? I too have jumped on the Henson as our PF of the future bandwagon but Ersan still plays here in MKE and makes too much money to be ignored. I predict he will start all season and Henson will see much larger nightly minutes subbing in at PF and C. Anyone care to disagree? Otherwise if we are all gung-ho on starting Henson doesn’t it make more sense to try and dump Ersan to a contender even if we don’t get fair market value for him to shed cap and increase Henson’s minutes even further?

  6. Bucks needed a SF desperately and to get an above average NBA small forward for 2 guys that would sit on the edge of the bench is a good trade. I personally dont think this will put the Bucks much closer to the playoffs though. I still have them as 10th and praying for winning the lottery

  7. The puppet master Herb Kohl is making John Hammond keep this team “competitive.” IF hovering around the 8th seed is “competitive.” This team is as good as out of Milwaukee after the Bradley Center lease is up. And we will be able to attribute that to moves like this one. Take a chance Herb/Hammond. Develop young players and suffer through the bumps and bruises of giving a young team experience and stop bringing in low-level, formerly quality players, that provide “veteran leadership.” You people that believe that a high draft pick (I understand there are no guarantees…..BUT SERIOUSLY), capable of carrying a franchise for the next 10 years, especially in this market where no superstars will ever come unless via the draft, is not worth it???……..You people are ignorant.

    Look at a market like San Antonio. Would they have had success without Tim Duncan, a number 1 pick? Not multiple championships worth. Not ANY championships worth of success. How about a team like OKC? High, quality draft picks. That equals contenders for years and years to come. Retreads leading to 8th seeds lead to the status quo for this organization. It will not result in the gain or loss in the numbers of the Milwaukee fandom either. These moves excite the die-hards and the ignoramuses. They do NOT entice fans sick of having an organization around who is unwilling to compete for championships. Why even have a team? Why even be in the league if you have no real aspirations at the ultimate goal?

    At the end of the day I still believe these moves may not make all that much of a difference in wins and losses. This team is capable of being an 8th seed. It is also capable of being a mistake tank, much to the chagrin of upper management. Here’s hoping for that mistake tank.

  8. Knight/ Ridnour/ Wolters
    Mayo/ Neal/ Delfino
    Butler/ Middleton/ Antetokounmpo
    Ilyasova/ Henson
    Sanders/ Pachulia/ Udoh/ Raduljica

    The starting five is short at least one offensive star, but will be really balanced. Mayo will get a ton of shots– expect him to play the Monta Ellis role. Knight, Ilyasova, Sanders, and Butler should all average mid to high double figures and at least average defense as a group. The key, IMO, is finding a second big-time scorer. Ilyasova could be that guy with more shots. So, too, could Knight. (Both would be ideal spot-up shooters with Mayo a ball-dominant pick-and-roller with Sanders.) Butler’s more of a secondary 3-and-D guy this late in his career and not likely to add more than a couple ppg even with increased touches.

    The bench looks very good, with four guys capable of more than holding their own. Both Ridnour and Delfino can shoot the open three. So can Neal, for that matter, though I’m guessing he takes on the Mayo role as the primary pick and roll, ball dominant guard. Up front, Henson, Antetokounmpo, and Middleton have high ceilings and need minutes to see what they can do. The former will have plenty of time to do just that, as Ilyasova’s not going to go more than 30 minutes.

    (One intriguing small ball lineup could employ Neal and Ridnour in the backcourt with Delfino, Antetokounmpo (or Butler), and Henson or Pachulia up front. That’s four shooters around a mobile big. Another option would be to go big, a la Indiana, with Sanders, Henson, Ilyasova, Delfino, and either Knight or Neal as PG. Lots of options, for sure.)

    They’re not better than Miami, New Jersey, Indiana, or Chicago, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could be just as good as Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Cleveland, or Washington. They’ll need one or two guys to really step it up offensively, Sanders to continue his ascension into superstardom, and the bench to become a major strength.

    The good news is that almost everyone is young and likely to improve. Each position has at least one young, high upside/ high ceiling athlete. With a mid-round 2014 pick (Aaron Gordon, anyone?) and another year of improvement from Knight, Sanders, Henson, Sanders, and Antetokounmpo, the future’s not so bad.

    • Udoh is not a Center by any means. And Antetokounmpo should be listed as two on your mock depth chart, Middleton hasn’t proven much more than Ante. I like the shape of this team a lot. Can they score enough? Can Knight step up and distribute? Can they play team defense? These questions will be answered quickly as this squad is thrown into the fire. But mixing in vets with new guys seems like a good mix. I think Caron will ball out now that he’s made it home finally! We bring 3 former Bucks back and Caron (Racine, WI)and Nick Van Exel (Kenosha, WI) and even Scott Williams back. Even OJ Mayo and his little bro Todd get to play their home games in the same arena. I have a feeling this team will have great chemistry and feel right at home…literally. GO BUCKS!

    • Pretty good position coverage, but I still would have preferred to see I.Smith(PG) kept because he was more of a true point guard over the aging combo guard L.Ridnour which we already have a ton of; though, I’m hopeful that Knight can be coached into being a very serviceable point guard.

      PG: Knight(G)/ Ridnour(G)/ Wolters(G)
      SG: Mayo(G)/ Neal(G)/ Delfino(SG,SF)
      SF: Butler(SF,SG)/ Middleton(SF)/ Antetokounmpo(SF)
      PF: Ilyasova(PF)/ Henson(PF,C)/ Udoh(PF,C)
      C: Sanders(C,PF)/ Pachulia(C)/ Raduljica(C)

      • I think Drew plans to play two combo guards, a la his time in Atlanta as coach. In his first season as the head man, he used combo guards Bibby (a shoot-first PG) and Hinrich (same) together in the backcourt (after he dealt for the former Jayhawk), with Johnson as his SF. The next season, without Hinrich, Teague blossomed as a combo PG and Johnson moved to a ball-dominant SG spot.

        Last season, he once again tried the two combo guard route, with Williams and Teague in the backcourt. When Williams got hurt, he then turned to Devin Harris.

        So, in two seasons out of three, Drew’s shown not only a willingness to turn to a two-guard combo attack, but a push to it. This year, in Milwaukee, IMO, he’s going to try the same thing with Knight and Mayo. (And their back-ups.)

        Mayo’s strengths are almost exactly the strengths that Hinrich, Williams, and Harris offered Drew in Atlanta. He and Knight will share ball responsibilities much like those players did in Atlanta. Therefore, their backups are going to be expected to do the same. (Why alter your play-calling for a guy playing 10 mpg, after all?) Some combination of Ridnour, Neal, and Delfino can indeed do just that. (Wolters, hopefully, can as well.)

        Ish Smith, then, would be the odd man out, as he’s not a Drew-style combo guard. He’d simply waste away on the bench.

        Expect a lot of side pick and rolls with a big and the wings (or guard) camped at the three point line. Expect Mayo to have the ball in his hands just as much– if not more– than Knight. Expect few post-up opportunities for Sanders, Henson, or any other big. (That’s a positive, IMO, as the Bucks are woeful in that respect.) Expect a lot of movement and a lot of jump shots.

        When those jumpers go in, this team will beat a lot of teams. When they don’t, they’ll struggle. The difference between this season and last (aside from the possible maturation of Sanders/ Henson and that both Knight and Mayo actually understand that defense is often required in the NBA) is that the jump shooters are much, much better. Mayo’s a better shooter than Ellis. Knight’s slightly better than Jennings, if only because he won’t jack up so many long two-pointers. Butler’s head and shoulders better than Mboute.

        The bench, too, has better shooters, in Ridnour and Delfino. The young Greek also is supposed to be good.

  9. Even as John Hammond (and perhaps the man behind the curtain, Herb Kohl) have been wheeling and dealing like sleep-deprived fantasy owners with too much caffeine, we still don’t have a top point guard to get the ball to all of these new guys to keep them from getting frustrated.
    Brandon Knight is a project at point! One of our Bucksketball guys rated him well below the Brandon we traded at that position. Even if our new Brandon grows there, it’s likely a couple of years. It’s also been written in a lead article here that Luke is mostly a two guard. Nate is both and possibly neither. Let’s see, then there’s O.J., Carlos and Gary to make a lopsided half-dozen shooting guards, with zero at the point.
    We’re going to regret losing Ish as he develops into a valuable back-up, solid starter, or better (so much for salvaging the trade of Tobias), but even with Ish we could’ve used another true point guard to help run the show. It’s going to be hard enough to get all these unfamiliar faces to blend together as a team, but to do so without a leader and distributor on the court?!? Let’s hope something is in the works.

    • You honestly think Ish was going to develop into anything in Milwaukee? You honestly don’t/didn’t pay much attention to the Bucks last year. He barely averaged any minutes and was likely going to be doing the same thing this year. The Bucks needed to clear 1 man off their roster at the least and Ish probably wouldve averaged 5 or less minutes a game this year based off of their depth chart they have right now. Now at the same token I’m not saying their point guard situation is a good one, but Ish was not the answer either. You traded 2 useless pieces to a current Bucks team for a useful expiring contract that will make the team more entertaining for the fans. If they make an entertaining team —-> could draw more fans —> could make more of a chance for a new arena.

      • Larry didn’t look like much before his break-out season last year. Tobias didn’t get much of a chance with the Bucks before showing star potential with the Magic. Not even John Henson got many minutes last year to my disappointment.
        I thought Ish was really good in summer league, quick and darting all over the court, with good potential in his shooting, and a pass-first mentality. I would have liked to see him as a back-up this year, either complementing Brandon Knight or a more experienced point guard brought in from elsewhere, or both — getting maybe 20-30 minutes.
        Finally, in at least some accord with L above, it’s one thing to win 40 games kind of a blah team, another thing to win 40 games with an exciting group of up-and-coming players gelling into a potential powerhouse. According to the lead article above, Caron is 33 and might well be gone by the trade deadline. Why not give guys like Ish and Khris Middleton more of shot to develop, instead, along with Brandon and O.J., both still under 25?

        • If Ish was a fifth, we’d all be drunk. This is a great trade. Quit defending it SFISCH. I agree we do need a point guard. I like Brandon Jennings and don’t see why everyone hated him (I understand what happened and no need to debate this). I think a trade should be made early in the season if someone doesn’t step up and take over the point. I think that would be the only weakness on the team. Great job Mr. Kohl and Mr. Hammond!!! As pesimistic as many fans want to be no matter what, I commend you for your great efforts to please the fans that want to see a good team play when they buy a ticket. Get a top draft choice would be great, but would never solve many answers. I think some fans just dream and want a reason to suck. Why not want a reason to not suck? Bring in exhibit A-Z: the many moves of the Bucks this off-season. They definitely stole the show for off-season moves. And remember we brought in a great coach too! Now Atlanta is left with a drunk driver as their coach. We definitely upgraded in that position!

    • In a round about way, I guess we could consider that we acquired Caron Buter for Tobias Harris and $5.5M …that thought doesn’t make me feel better.

      I think Bucks signing Butler is reasonable and became more important with the news that Delfino would not be back right away. We have a lot of new players and a number of young players, so it’s even more important to have a starting SF at training camp and the start of the season. As weak as PG position is, I think SF without Delfino was a big hole that needed to be filled.

      This move was necessary for the young player development, as much as any win now strategy. We are 80+ games away from arguing the merits of tank vs playoffs. A lot can happen to teams in the NBA before April rolls around, so putting together a team that can execute a play and defensive strategy is and should be the Bucks priority. The players want to win games and they should be given every opportunity to do that and do that NOW.

      Go Bucks!

      • Sincere questions: How likely is it to have a good team when there are so many new players? How long does it take this many new guys to get used to each other? Are there any relevant examples from the past? In any case, what is our best guess about the success of this roster overhaul?
        As for me, I think this is a strange and chaotic way to build a team, a recipe for disaster — and the lack of point guards makes it all the worse. I’m interested to hear what others think.

    • Knight looks a lot like Teague when he entered the NBA, the only differences being that Knight was thrust into a starting (and starring) role as a ball-dominant PG. (Detroit’s SGs have been horrid since Knight was drafted and their SF haven’t been much better. He’s been the only ballhandler on his team with the exception of Greg Monroe for two years. Unless, of course, you count Jose Colderon and Will Bynum, who had TO percentages just as bad as Knight’s.)

      Too, the numbers supporting Jennings over Knight are almost entirely based on two assists and half a turnover a game (per 36). Experts ignore completely the defensive side of the game. Jennings was one of the two worst guards in the league defensively last season. When Jennings was on the court, opposing teams had an Offensive Rating of 107.9; when Jennings was off the court opposing teams had an Offensive Rating of 98.7. Knight was among the best. When Knight was on the court, he was worth an extra 8.1 points defensively.

      Is that worth the extra couple of assists and half a turnover? Maybe.

      When you add in the (better) likelihood of improvement due simply to age and Drew’s coaching, does it then sway your opinion? How about if you add in the $4 million that went to Sanders’ extension? How’s it look now?

      • If Brandon Knight can pull it off at the point guard spot, I’d be very happy, to say the least. I don’t know if he really likes that position; how well he sees the court and anticipates things and has the knack for distributing the ball deftly; and whether he has the right kind of leadership abilities to run the show on the court. One can be a great basketball player without these skills, just not a good point guard.
        I guess half the battle is whether Brandon is excited about playing the position. If he is, and because he seems like a real good person, with lots of talent, I wouldn’t be surprised if he does become an excellent point guard.
        If the Bucks turn out to be a lot better than I anticipate, and really seem to gel as a team for future success, that would be great. Out of all the many new guys, maybe a couple will step up big-time, and a couple of others will be solid contributors, and everything will come together very nicely. It would be fantastic to have the makings of a premier team again in the Bucks.

        • Knight is, by all accounts, an extremely hard worker and exceptional young man. (Articles all over the ‘net, including Dumars’ and Calipari’s comments confirm.) This off-season, according to various blogs, newspaper, and e-zine accounts, Knight bulked up and watched tons of tape. He recognized that he needed more upper body strength, so he worked on that. He’s a vocal leader as well– the Kentucky Final Four run also shows he’s willing to take (and make) the big shot too. These attributes are among his greatest strengths.

          His weaknesses are also fairly obvious at this point. He is not very aggressive or creative off the bounce at all. He prefers to move the ball to another man– ie, look for help– rather than force a poor shot. He’s not comfortable dominating the ball either. This often results in low assist numbers and a perception that he’s not leader-y enough.

          Worse, he’s turnover-prone because he’s a split second late on passes through pick and rolls and because he tends to cross over back into the pick and the defense. The latter problem is correctable. The prior problem is difficult to overcome.

          However, the good news about that is that both Sanders and Henson also tend to be late holding their picks. As a result, perhaps that synergy will work for the Bucks. If not, you’ve always got Neal, Mayo, Delfino, and Ridnour that can initiate the offense (though, to be fair, Delfino, Mayo, and Neal are also slow to recognize open rollers).

          I suspect, as Knight matures, he’ll morph into a middle-of-the-pack point guard, capable of 17/7/4 throughout his peak years. That’s just about what Jennings has brought in his career so far. When you consider defense and cost, he’s not a bad gamble at all.

          • I really appreciate the information about Brandon.
            At age 21, maybe it’s a good idea to give him a little more time to see what he can do at point. However, if turns out he’s not suited for that role, I hope the Bucks don’t force it. With the attitude and work ethic you describe, Brandon might develop into an outstanding two guard, or else a top player off the bench.
            At any rate, he does sound like a great guy to take a chance on because of his personal character and basketball talent. He’s actually the acquisition I’m most excited about watching this season.
            Whatever happens with Brandon at point, it might be a good idea to trade for another one, tapping our abundance of two-guards and back-up bigs (not Larry or John, for sure, and let’s keep Zaza for physicality).
            Thanks again, Scrap Irony, for the good scouting report on our new Brandon. I really benefit from good information (and opinion) from the other fans on this blog, as well as the experts at Bucksketball.

  10. Fear the Deer?
    The end is near
    In another year
    They won’t be here.

    So raise a beer
    And shed a tear
    When all we hear
    Is Seattle cheer.

    • Nice.
      Is it possible that Herb Kohl puts it in writing that he won’t move the team (or sell to anyone who will) under penalty of being tarred and feathered?