Milwaukee Bucks: Should They Trade for Caron Butler?


Should the Milwaukee Bucks make a move for Caron Butler?

December is almost over and the winter of discontent in Milwaukee tumbles forward. As the new year fast approaches you can start to hear a rustling in the distance. What’s that soft, but constant, sound? Those are trade winds, and they just won’t stop blowing. They certainly blow quite strongly around these Milwaukee Bucks.

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Milwaukee’s 11-18 start to the season means trade and other personnel related rumors will always surround them. Miles Plumlee has had his name thrown around in rumors, there’s been a Ryan Anderson discussion on the Win In 6 podcast, and the Bucks even met with Carlos Boozer to perhaps sign him.

One rumor stands out above the rest as something that fills a need and also seems like something that could actually happen. Reports suggest that the Sacramento Kings are actively looking to trade veteran wing Caron Butler.

In the off-season Butler signed a two-year contract just north of $3 million with the Kings. However, things haven’t gone quite as planned. Instead of becoming a rotation player that brings outside shooting off the bench, Butler has spent most of his time firmly entrenched on that bench.

Butler has played in nine of Sacramento’s 28 games this season, averaging only 9.6 minutes per game. In that small sample, Butler has averaged 2.7 points per game on 42.3 percent shooting and 12.5 percent from three-point range.

Butler, 35, has played 13 years in the NBA for eight different teams. His best years came in the mid 2000’s with the Washington Wizards. In the 2007-2008 season Butler scored 20.3 points per game on 46.6 percent shooting, 35.7 percent from outside, and 90.1 percent from the free-throw line.

He’s no longer that type of player, but late in his career he has developed into a veteran leader and three-point specialist. In the last five seasons he has shot at least 35.8 percent from three-point range on no fewer than 2.2 three-point attempts per game. Last season he averaged 5.9 points per game and shot 37.9 percent from deep in 78 games for the Detroit Pistons. He’s done that while also playing quality defense and serving as a veteran voice in those organizations.

If the Kings are truly making Butler available, then the Bucks should take a chance on him still having something left in the tank. If he is the same player that he was last season, he should be able to give Milwaukee 20 to 25 minutes per game and knock down at least one three-pointer per game. Outside shooting is a well documented weakness for Milwaukee. The Bucks have only made 176 three-pointers this season, a number that ranks 26th in the NBA. They’ll take any floor spacing they can get.

He can provide minutes at small forward and also go in the post to play some power forward when the Bucks go small. In an ideal scenario he essentially becomes what Jared Dudley was last season. Butler could serve as a veteran leader that makes three-pointers and mentors the young players. That’s something every young team would be happy to have.

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With guys like Michael Carter-Williams, Jabari Parker, and Giannis Antetokounmpo still attempting to find their way as NBA players, any veteran that can aid in their development would be appreciated.

No, he’s not going to singlehandedly turn their season around. He’s 35 and his best days are behind him. That being said, he clearly fills a void on the roster and it’s an extremely low risk move. They could probably land him for a second round pick (maybe a protected second rounder) or they could even do a swap of little used bench players and offer up Chris Copeland for Butler.

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This may not be a trade that moves the needle, or even gets the Bucks back to playoff contention, but it’s one that could still positively impact the team on the court and give them another veteran voice in the locker room.