Caron Butler has a championship ring from his stint with the 2011 Dallas Mavericks, but he never was able to make an on-court contribution during that magical playoff run due to a season-ending knee injury. Now he has another chance to help a team make a push for the title, but this time, it will be with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After the Milwaukee Bucks agreed to buy out the rest of Butler’s contract, he had the opportunity to return to the team that selected him as the 10th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft—the Miami Heat. However, he spurned his former team and opted to join the Thunder instead.
Thunder forward Kevin Durant knows exactly what the 33-year-old Butler is capable of and what he can do to help Oklahoma City raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy come June.
"I seen a game where he made seven threes this year; he had 38 another game. So he can put it up with the best of 'em," said Durant. "He's just a long, strong defender. He could do a lot for us."
Durant must have a preternatural ability to recall statistics because Butler certainly did accomplish both of those feats this season. He nailed seven 3-pointers on Feb. 18 against the Orlando Magic and tallied 38 points on Nov. 22 against the Philadelphia 76ers.
As a Wisconsin native, Butler had the opportunity to return to his home state and make an impact with the Bucks after he was traded to Milwaukee last summer by the Phoenix Suns, who acquired him from the Los Angeles Clippers just under two months prior. He finished his run with the Bucks averaging 11 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
As Durant alluded to, he will bring the Thunder additional scoring and defensive-mindedness in a reserve role, but also 47 games of playoff experience. The Thunder certainly hope Butler is the missing piece that could help put them over the top after four unsuccessful playoff bids for the championship from 2010 to 2013.