[Previously: Nick Young and Tracy McGrady -ed.]
Not sure where to gauge this on the B.S. scale, but Caron Butler wants to join the Bulls, K.C. Johnson tweeted this morning:
K.C. including that his source is "close to" Butler likely means one of two things: (1) someone from Butler's camp is attempting to inflate his value; or (2) Butler's camp is working hard to show the Bulls that he wants to be a Bull. And it's safe to assume the source is actually "close to him", as Johnson isn't into rumor-mongering.
There's some good, bad, and ugly with Butler. It's safe to say that his upside-disaster ratio could be very high.
Bad: He only played 29 games last season and missed the entire playoffs following mid-season knee surgery.
Good: The longer off-season extended his rehabilitation period without forcing an effective comeback.
Good: At 31, he's had enough success to know his body, how it optimally functions, and its limits.
Bad: At 31, he isn't getting any better or quicker.
Ugly: He's missed 119 games over the last five seasons. Other than playing 74 games in 2009-10, he hasn't played more than 67 games since the 2005-06 season and this shortened 66-game season will feature a ton of back-to-backs -- especially the Bulls, who expect to not be off many Thursday evenings for national showcases.
Good: He'll "get ya' buckets", as they say, and play some good defense -- better as a tall 6'7" SG than as a SF who'll play shorter with the issues concerning the wheels, but Thibs' size-type, as a guy long enough to show help on forwards. More important, the defensive I.Q. is there. The quickness of Joakim Noah's help and the Bulls other quickness assets on the wings would make Butler look good.
Good: He's an ~85% FT-shooter and played a significant role in Dallas' offense before going down, taking advantage of opposing defenses forced to focus on other Mavs scoring threats, with 15.0 PPG, posting a 25.1% usage rate and a career-high 3P%
Bad: His career-high eFG% is .501 (2007-08).
Ugly: Before shooting 43.1% from long-range in only 29 games last season, he was under 35% seven of the prior eight seasons of his career -- six of those under 32%. His career eFG%: .462. 3P%: .319.
If there's an 'old-man game' being better developed by Butler and his camp, he'll do no harm. But considering the portion of the salary cap occupied by Keith Bogans' $1.73 million option, how much of an upgrade is he? Is he a downgrade, considering the risk?
There's no indication that he's looking to score a lucky deal and deserves the benefit of the doubt that he may take the minimum to play for a contender, but K.C. reports Butler as a mid-level exemption candidate:
The league has not yet set a deadline for the Bulls to make a decision on Bogans' team option. In a normal free agency period, they would have had 10 days for that decision.
That the Bulls expressed interest in players like Butler suggests they are open to using the full $5 million midlevel exception. Butler, according to a league source, has heavy interest from at least six teams
Interest from six teams just may get Butler that full MLE from someone. If that's going to a new SG, shouldn't it go to someone worth starting over Ronnie Brewer?
That may be too harsh, so I'll re-pose the question: if the full MLE is going to a bench player, shouldn't that player be a stronger shooter than Butler?
Stats via Basketball-Reference.com.