Shams Charania of RealGM reported this morning that the Clippers are among the teams interested in Caron Butler.
In the report, he lists the Clippers along with the Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, and Spurs as teams that could pursue the 35-year-old small forward if he is waived by Milwaukee before free agency opens. With $0 of his $4.5 million salary guaranteed for next season, the Bucks are expected to waive Butler unless a trade materializes within the next couple of days. Even if such a trade did, however, teams would likely waive him instead of paying him.
Butler, who has played for three teams since going to Milwaukee in part of the J.J. Redick sign-and-trade in 2013, has certainly declined in his time away from the Clippers, struggling to shoot 40% from the field. However, his range has stayed strong, shooting 39% in 2014 and 38% in 2015. During Butler's only stretch on a good team since leaving Los Angeles, he shot 44% from deep in a small sample size with the Thunder, appearing in 22 games and making 31 of 84 three pointers.
His rebounding was down to 4.3 per 36 last season, and whatever defensive utility he had a few years ago has diminished, but on a minimum salary, he could be an intriguing signing for the Clippers, especially should they miss out on Paul Pierce. While Butler isn't starting-caliber and doesn't have the defensive chops to meet the needs of the starting unit, his veteran leadership and floor-spacing could be valuable when teamed with the poor-shooting, young, and talented duo of Austin Rivers and Lance Stephenson. However, his shot selection was frequently an issue in his last run with the Clippers, as he would often pass up an open three to take one dribble and shoot a 2-pointer with a defender in his face. However, he was incredibly tough, playing through a broken hand in the postseason, and he became a fan favorite for his veteran presence and toughness. At 6'7", Caron can also play some small-ball 4 in limited minutes, stretching the floor for lineups featuring Blake Griffin in the post.
Caron Butler isn't the best option out there this summer for the Clippers, but he's a reliable three-point shooter, and Doc Rivers loves to sign tough veteran players. As an alternate to Paul Pierce and other veterans and shooters who could be good fits as the backup small forward, he's a decent option, but if the Clippers think that Butler will replace Matt Barnes' defense and hustle in the starting role next season they could be in trouble.