Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that Butler, a free agent since negotiating a buyout from the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 27, signed a contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Butler, a two-time All-Star, is a great signing at this juncture for Oklahoma City. The 12-year veteran is a capable scorer with plenty left in the tank after languishing on an abysmal Bucks squad for much of the 2013-14 campaign.
The Wisconsin native was playing out the final year of his contract and owed $8 million for the season prior to the buyout, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. He was released ahead of the March 1 deadline to be eligible to contribute in the postseason with another team.
The 33-year-old holds career averages of 15.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, but he saw his numbers sink to 11.0, 4.6 and 1.6 during his time with a team that was a mere 11-45 at the time he was cut free.
Butler has been anticipating joining a contending team for some time, telling Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel in January that he was looking forward to escaping his dreadful situation in Milwaukee.
"I know I'll be in a good situation because it can't get worse," Butler said. "If something was to happen, I know I will be going somewhere pretty good and I'm definitely ready to compete at a high level. I'm definitely well-rested. I'm healthy and I feel good."
He should see much more consistent playing time with the Thunder, as Bucks head coach Larry Drew would put the swingman on the floor for wildly inconsistent minutes.
Butler would log 40 minutes in some contests (such as a Dec. 21 showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers) and as little as eight in others (a New Year’s Eve matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers). With the Bucks well out of contention, it was time for the team to move on from the veteran and open the rotation up for younger players to earn valuable minutes.
How he'll rotate in for Oklahoma City remains to be seen, but Butler will definitely be a steady contributor as a scoring option behind starsKevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Given the state of the Thunder roster and its mostly consistent starting five, it's hard to envision him being more than a top scoring option in their second string.
Butler’s veteran savvy will be useful come playoff time, as the UConn product has six trips to the postseason under his belt. He has a championship ring stemming from his time as a member of the 2011 Dallas Mavericks, but he was not active for the team’s playoff run due to a season-ending knee injury.
This signing should certainly afford Butler an opportunity to contend for a second title. Hopefully he can stay healthy and be an active participant during the playoffs.
--- with reports from BleacherReport.com
Butler picked OKC over former team Miami Reviewed by Jay-R Bayon-on on 3/01/2014 Rating: