Caron Butler makes way more sense for the September Milwaukee Bucks than he did for the July Milwaukee Bucks

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Caron Butler will be officially introduced as the newest member of the Milwaukee Bucks today. There will be a ceremony at his old high school and everyone will have kind things to say. I don’t really have strong feelings either way, but mostly I’m just glad he’s being introduced on September 5 instead of July 14 or something like that. It’s not the specific dates I care about so much as the team he’s joining that I care about. Butler joining the mid-July Milwaukee Bucks seems like it would have been cause for quite the controversy around these parts and I’d probably be looking back on what I wrote then and feel foolish because of how things developed.

So, thanks Bucks.

Assumptions about his role and Milwaukee’s motives would have run wild. “WIN NOW” would have been the phrase of the day. If he joined a Bucks team without Zaza Pachuila, Luke Ridnour and Carlos Delfino, I suppose it would have been fair to assume the Bucks were putting too much stock into an aging, less effective than he used to be Butler.

But now it makes quite a bit more sense.

He’s significantly overpaid at this stage in his career, but he’s in the last year of his deal and he’s just taking up what would have been empty cap space on the Bucks roster. The opportunity cost in Butler is the loss of cap space that could have helped facilitate a trade later in the season. Maybe adding Butler prevents the Bucks from being a cog in a trade other teams are looking to make in February. Often, being a cog in other team’s trades results in the acquisition of a draft pick of some sort, so maybe the Bucks are costing themselves a late first round or second round pick in February by acquiring Butler in August.

But nothing is guaranteed and those trades seem to get more and more difficult to facilitate every season. Butler presents the Bucks with something real right now, even if he robs them of what could happen later. And we know the Bucks love what’s real right now. While his value as a player has diminished, his value as a person seems to be important to the Bucks.

Milwaukee went through what could have been considered a moderately successful season last year in terms of results, but the Bucks seemed to have the worst time getting through it. All reports out of the organization since the end of the season indicate that the Bucks locker room was an unhappy place. The veterans on the roster hardly seemed the nurturing, wise types that could take players under their wing and show them the ropes. If Drew Gooden is the backbone of your team’s veteran presence, your team lacks for leaders.

So 11 new players have come into Milwaukee. Some have been young, some have been old. Some will be counted on this season, some in a few seasons. Butler is a guy who will be counted on a bit this season on the court. But in the grander scheme of things, he’s going to be counted on to set a great example for guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Knight the way the Pachulia is going to be expected to help provide guidance for Larry Sanders and John Henson.

And it doesn’t hurt that Butler can come back to his home state and have his introductory press conference outside of Milwaukee. The Bucks have struggled for years to attract much interest outside of Milwaukee county, but maybe Butler can help sell the team in Racine. A team would never pick up a player and plug him into a rotation simply because he was a local, but when you factor it in with a few other things (plays a position of need, can still play a little, would be a good locker room guy, fits under the cap), it doesn’t hurt.

Ultimately, the Bucks didn’t get guys like Butler and Pachulia to be babysitters. They are probably going to count on the two of them to be contributing rotation players for a good portion of the season. The last couple “Obvious Locker Room Guy Who Will End Up Also Playing Rotation Minutes” the Bucks have had were Kurt Thomas and Marquis Daniels. Thomas got to keep his minutes in the 10 mpg range for most of the season, which worked out pretty well. Everyone seemed to respect him and he seemed to have been a positive influence on younger players the Bucks had that season. Daniels was relied upon way too much, played poorly for most of the season and couldn’t save a locker room gone very far south. One man can’t do it alone.

That’s why the Bucks didn’t just pick up Butler alone this offseason. He’s being counted on for both minutes and guidance, just like Pachuila … and Ridnour … and Delfino. The Bucks want all these guys to play right now and seem to think they can combine with some talented young players to make a run at a late playoff spot, but possibly just as importantly, they want them to fix a wounded locker room atmosphere and show guys like Giannis, Knight and Sanders the way. Individually, their acquisitions seem strange, but as a group, they make more sense. They want these guys to set good examples in practice and care about both ends of the court.

So while Caron Butler doesn’t really make the Bucks that much better or worse, he does bring something to the organization. He won’t really make Milwaukee much better or worse on the court this season and he doesn’t fit into either the “Win-Now” or “Tank” agendas, but if he can help set up a guy like Giannis for success in two years, he’ll be well worth the steep price of … Slava Kravtsov and Ish Smith.

Categories: Feelgoodery,The Off Season

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  1. Jeremy u missed a lot of points in evaluating the impact Butler can have on the Bucks. How do you say him being on the team doesn’t give u strong feelings? So you’d rather Milwaukee start Kris Middleton or Delfino this season.. Get out of here, r you a Bucks fan or not?! This man STARTED for the Clippers the last 2 season, last year they won the most games in franchise history!! Its people like you that make the Bucks front office make terrible decisions like sign Za Za to $16 million. Caron is easily capable of 15ppg, 4rpg, and 4apg. Not to mention he is a great wing defender and will help us to slow down players like Lebron, Melo, Pierce, Deng, etc now that Mbah Moute is gone. So u would rather the Bucks gamble with the draft lottery or save up for a later trade (NO ALL STAR WANTS TO PLAY HERE RIGHT NOW) than go after what could be the key to the Bucks makin it back to the postseason? You cant be serious lmao!

    • Butler has not averaged 15-4-4 since 2008-09. Even per 36 minutes last season he didn’t approach those numbers. Those averages would be a monumental surprise.

      Defensively he’s probably okay, but I think he’s far from great at this point in his career. What suggests to you that he’s a great defender? Watching film of him doesn’t indicate he’s great. I think he competes, but I think he’s worse than even Daniels was last season.

      The Clippers were pretty great the last two seasons. They also had Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and a bevy of other talented role players. Butler was fine for them, but just pointing to a player’s previous team’s success when he wasn’t the main contributing factor really doesn’t prove that he’s good or bad.

      There are other things I take issue with in your comment, but mainly I’m just glad you weren’t mean spirited with your response, so thanks for that.

      • 1.) he averaged 15-4-1 in 2011
        2.) he averaged 10-3-1 last year for the Clippers only playing 25 mins per game.
        3.) he may not have won defensive player of the year or all defense honors, but as far back as his NBA career goes when have u ever heard of someone scoring 20+ points on Caron Butler? I watched a couple seasons ago as Carlos Delfino let every single SF he matched up against look like the 2nd coming of Lebron. And I believe you labeled him a good defender in recent articles. Worse than Marquise Daniels?? LOL that’s comedy!
        4.) Caron was relied upon very heavily last season by the Clippers offensively, any time the game slowed down and they went into halfcourt sets Butler often found himself with the ball later in the clock. He either put up a three or attacked the basket, EXACTLY what the Bucks needed.

        Do you realize that other than MAYBE Larry Sanders, nobody on the pre Butler Bucks roster could even dunk consistently in a game? LOL who can Brandon Knight throw a lob to, Kris Middleton? Come on u can not really be a Bucks fan n say this isn’t a great pick up for the Bucks..

        • ronald, youre confused about the caron butler we’re getting

          he may still be a useful player, but he’s not a dunker, or a defender. when he still had his youthful athleticism he was hardly those things.

          he shoots the basketball and brings some quality size.

          please don’t make us scour box scores and compile a long list of players who’ve dropped 20 on caron butler. even the best defenders have a list like that.

          i did, however, thoroughly enjoy your manic reverse psychology rant:

          Get out of here, r you a Bucks fan or not?! This man STARTED for the Clippers the last 2 season, last year they won the most games in franchise history!! Its people like you that make the Bucks front office make terrible decisions like sign Za Za to $16 million

          THAT was fucking brilliant

          • LOL Gman im flattered, I really am but I got just 2 questions for you:

            1.) So u agree with the Pachulia contract, n think it was a good move?

            2.) So the starter for a record setting team doesn’t matter? R u sayin that Grant Hill could’ve started for the Clippers last year and they still would have had as good a season lol

  2. Again, a great opportunity to become an elite or at least Top 5 eastern Conference team is sacrificed in the name of being an average, competitive team today. I hope that this team misses the playoffs, but like most fans, the more vets we acquire, the more it seems like yet another 8th seed visit to the playoffs. Meanwhile all the franchise-potential lottery picks wave bye bye to us, again.

    • Please tell me how signin Caron Butler to the Bucks (previous SFs were Kris Middleton and Carlos Delfino) makes the team more of an average competitive team than signing Za Za to 5.2 million a year… If the Bucks had Caron and used that $5 million to sign a Al Jefferson or a Paul Milsap (BOTH being paid new contracts less than Za Za)then we would be legit contenders. And stop banking on the NBA lottery when u can name 1 NBA franchise I the last decade who won a championship with that formula. The NBA is all about makin the right free agency moves

      • Paul Millsap is making 9.5 million the next two seasons and Jefferson makes 13.5 million over the next 2/3 seasons.

        So, you know, there’s THAT.

        • Eric buddy idk where u learned math BUT $9.5 million over 2 years is LESS than $16 million over 3 years buddy. Al Jeffersons 13.5 over 3 years is also significantly less, Im not understanding your point..

          • You are right. 16 million over 3 years is in fact more than both 9.5 million over 2 years and 13.5 over 3 years. Your math is much more in tune than mine.

            But those numbers I shot out were per year salaries, as in Al Jefferson will make 13.5 million per year for the next three years (totaling 41.5 million)

            Also, Paul Millsap will make 9.5 million per year for the next two seasons (totaling 19 million)

            My high school wasn’t very good in the math department, so you’ll have to forgive me. I think those numbers are higher, though.

        • Either u overpay a vet like Al Jeff for a couple years, or u overpay a young semi stud in Sanders and keep him as your Franchize PF/C!!! I do like milsap, but his minutes would cut into Hensons!!!

    • haters gonna hate

      Lol. Yep. Caron Butler adds wins to our bottom line. Unless he doesnt. You have 0 clue Vijay.

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  5. Still would rather have Delfino, Middleton, and Giannis play the small forward spot than eat Caron Butler and a large chunk of Drew Gooden’s remaining salary, if it meant a higher draft pick. Screw this chasing the 8th to 6th seed BS and start building through the draft with high lottery draft picks that should of happened years ago.

    • Except Delfino may not play until November. That left ONLY Middleton & Giannis at SF all of training camp and start of season. Not the best way to develop young players.

      They needed to do something about the SF position and Butler seems to be as good an option as any other players available.

  6. For the buffoon who said Caron doesnt dunk anymore…he destroyed Chris Kaman about 9 months ago. He can still dunk even with authority so lets stop with whatever you were thinking. Caron is an all around type of player and I cant be more pumped that hes home. From tearing his ACL in front of his family at a rare stop at the BC (2 seasons ago? Jan 2nd game) to now playing 41 games in his backyard, dude is going to bring it I promise you that.

  7. HOORAY……

    The overall picture seems to show a team/front office that STILL wont give in to the tank theory. Solid starting 5, enough talent &youth to snag a seat in post season. No matter what you say now-the fan base will be pleased and excited for post season games on 4th street. :)


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