The Clips finally got a semi-decent backup swingman today, Rasual Butler, from the Hornets in exchange for a second round pick. It was basically a salary dump for the Hornets, but with Rasual scheduled to make $3.9 million, it’s very reasonable for the Clips. A few years ago Butler was starting to play well with Shaq & the Miami Heat before he disappeared into the hinterlands of New Orleans, but according to ESPN:
"Butler had the most productive season of his seven-year career in 2008-09, averaging 11.2 points and 3.3 rebounds while playing in all 82 games for the Hornets, who made the playoffs. He shot 40 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range to match his career averages."
While the 40% isn’t that exciting, the 37% from the three should be big for the Clips, allowing them to spread the offense more, giving more room for Griffin & Kaman to go to work down low, or for Baron, Eric Gordon & Al Thornton to slash.
Hopefully this doesn’t mean that the Clippers will give up on keeping sharp-shooter Steve Novak now that the roster has reached 13 players (remember NBA teams only need to have the 13 player minimum, and this year even many non-Sterling owners, er, uh, non-cheap owners, will keep their rosters at 13).
Update: Here’s the very excellent take on this from Clips Nation’s Steve Perrin:
"Butler’s $3.9+M salary comes out of the Clippers $7.3M trade exception from the Zach Randolph for Quentin Richardson deal. So as someone pointed out in the comments of the first thread, in a very real sense you can now add Rasual Butler to the list of assets the Clippers have now acquired for Tim Thomas and Cat Mobley – Mardy Collins, Sebastian Telfair, Craig Smith, Mark Madsen, Butler – and they still have about $3.4M to use from the exception. And all of those guys except Telfair can be off the books before next season’s free agency market. Not too mention that their expiring deals could be used along with those of Marcus Camby and Ricky Davis to match any salary in the league. It’s hard to imagine, but the Clipper’s financial flexibility seems to get better with each move they make. Call MDsr butter because he’s on a roll."
I gotta say, and I’ve said this before: I actually think Dunleavy has done a pretty decent job as GM for the Clippers over the years. He’s been godawful as a coach, but as a GM he’s made relatively solid moves. Sure he’s had the mistake here and there (as GM), but overall I think he hasn’t been that bad. I mean the Clips made it to the second round of the playoffs just a couple of years ago with a completely different crew (only Kaman remains), and if they can return to the playoffs this year or next, that will be a pretty frickin’ amazing revamp job. The only other teams that have re-invented themselves that quickly (ie. Spurs from the David Robinson era to the Parker/Ginobili era, or the Lakers from the Shaq-Kobe era to the Kobe-Pau-Odom-etc era) were able to rebuild around a sure-fire Hall of Famer, and likely top 20 player of all time. Sure, you can say the Clippers lucked into the top pick, but the Thunder lucked into Kevin Durrant who’s been phenomenal but they still are at least one more year away from making the playoffs. I’m tellin’ ya, I’d possibly vote for Dunleavy as exec of the year if he’d just fire that lame coach of his.