It's a busy night for the Detroit Pistons: as if signing free agent point guard D.J. Augustin wasn't enough, the team also agreed to terms on a deal with Caron Butler, who split last season between the Milwaukee Bucks and Oklahoma City Thunder.
ESPN's Marc Stein was the first to report Butler's deal -- or the first to report that a deal was close -- while Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News confirmed it will be a one-year deal with a team option for a second. Salary is still unknown. (See update below: it's $4.5 million a season)
Hearing Detroit on the brink of signing Caron Butler after Butler's postseason run with Oklahoma City.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 14, 2014
Can confirm cia sources the Pistons have agreed to terms with Caron Butler and Dj Augustin... Butler is a one-yr w/team option for yr 2— Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) July 14, 2014
The Pistons were in desperate need of a true small forward, but it's unclear just how much Butler, 34, has left in the tank. In 56 games last year, he averaged 10.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 25.3 minutes per game. One skill of his that hasn't deteriorated with age, though, is his 3-point touch: he shot a 39.4 percent from beyond the arc in 4.4 attempts per game last year.
From last season
Stan Van Gundy coached Butler his first two years in the league, first as Pat Riley's assistant during Butler's rookie year in 2002-03 and then as head coach in 2003-04. Butler spent his third season with the Lakers after being included in the Shaquille O'Neal trade before being sent to Washington the following summer in the Kwame Brown trade. Butler came into his own with the Wizards, making All-Star teams in 2007 and 2008, but when injuries and guns forced the team into rebuilding mode (thanks, Gilbert Arenas), he was traded yet again, this time to the Mavericks in 2010.
SB Nation's Tom Ziller ranked Butler 64th in his list of the Top 75 free agents earlier this summer, adding:
He hit the hell out of his open threes with the Thunder. But he rebounds like a two-guard, passes like a center and defends like a Summer League participant. He is a master of big shot celebration and a good locker room presence, though.
Butler clearly has some skills left, but at what cost? His salary will completely dictate how I feel about this deal, although I'm encouraged that the second year is a team option. I think he did too much for the Thunder down the stretch to settle for the veteran's minimum -- at least for a non-contender like the Pistons.
But it won't be anything remotely close to the last contract he signed: a three-year, $24 deal with the Clippers in 2011. He spent two years with the Clippers before being traded twice last season, first to the Suns and then to the Bucks. He played 34 games with the Bucks before agreeing to a buyout and finishing the season with the Thunder.
Update: We have a salary number:
Hearing Butler on the books for $4.5M next season.— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) July 14, 2014
Marc Stein is calling the contract a two-year, $9 million deal -- he's yet to report the fact that the second year is a team option.
Also: Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva may be gone, but the UConn connection stays strong:
@AndreDrummondd thx young fella lets get better#100#uconn— Caron Butler (@realtuffjuice) July 14, 2014