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GERY WOELFEL: Butler back in town? Sources indicate Bucks, Suns working on a deal

GERY WOELFEL: Butler back in town? Sources indicate Bucks, Suns working on a deal

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Caron Butler
Two-time NBA All-Star and Racine native Caron Butler is not only preparing for life after basketball, he’s also working to make a difference in Racine.

Caron Butler has periodically dreamed about some day playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.

That’s certainly understandable, considering Butler was born and raised in Racine and followed the fortunes of the Bucks ever since he was a child.

Now, 33 years old and having played 11 years in the National Basketball Association, Butler’s dream may finally come true.

According to multiple sources, the Bucks and Phoenix Suns are seriously engaged in trade negotiations that would bring Butler to the Bucks.

Although exact details of the potential trade aren’t known, Butler, the former Park High School standout, would be the central figure in the deal that could be culminated as soon as today.

Butler will be paid nearly $8 million next season, so the Bucks would likely have to give the Suns some sort of combination involving players and draft picks. It is believed the Bucks wouldn’t surrender any of their frontline players.

Butler, a two-time NBA All-Star, started for the Los Angeles Clippers the last two seasons. But the Clippers dealt Butler to the Suns in early July as part of a three-team trade that, interestingly, involved the Bucks.

In that transaction, Butler and Eric Bledsoe were moved to the Suns, while J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley were sent to the Clippers. The Bucks received a pair of second-round draft choices: one from the Suns and another from the Clippers.

But many NBA observers expected Butler’s time in the Valley of the Sun to be short-lived. After all, the Suns are in a full-fledged rebuilding mode and are attempting to stockpile draft picks and young players for the future.

The Bucks, meanwhile, are committed to trying to make the playoffs for the second straight season. After a flurry of offseason trades and free-agent signings, they appear set at every position except small forward, which is where Butler plays.

Carlos Delfino, whom the Bucks signed as a free-agent in July, had been the projected starting small forward. But Delfino is still recovering from surgery for a fractured bone in his right foot.

There are whispers that Delfino will miss the entire preseason and even a portion of the regular season.

The Bucks also have two other young small forwards on their roster: Khris Middleton, whom they recently acquired in a trade with Detroit, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, whom they selected in the first round of the June draft.

While the Bucks are excited about the futures of Antetokounmpo and Middleton, neither player is close to being ready to play major minutes next season.

Butler, on the other hand, is a proven veteran who has been a starter his entire pro career. The 6-foot-7 Butler started 78 of a possible 82 games for the Clippers last season. He averaged 10.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 24.1 minutes on a well-balanced scoring team that featured All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

Butler also has extensive playoff experience, something that would undoubtedly benefit a relatively-young Bucks team.

Butler has competed in postseason competition during six seasons, having started 47 games.

While Butler would clearly help the Bucks on the floor, he would also help change the culture of a locker room that was riddled with internal strife last season.

Butler is regarded in NBA circles as a leader and consummate team player who has always placed team goals ahead of his own.

Gery Woelfel is a reporter for The Journal Times. Gery can be reached by calling (262) 631-1713 or by email at


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