NBA Free Agents: Caron Butler Has Plenty Of Suitors Despite Season-Ending Injury

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 12: Caron Butler of the Dallas Mavericks celebrates with the Larry O'Brien trophy after the Mavericks won 105-95 against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Caron Butler played just 29 games for the Dallas Mavericks last season before a knee injury ended his season. The 31-year-old is now entering free agency, however, with quite a few potential destinations in mind.

Caron Butler didn't exactly get to showcase his wares with the Dallas Mavericks last season after playing in just 29 games before being sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn patella tendon. That likely won't hurt his stock in free agency, however, as many teams seem to be lining up for the small forward who can score in bunches.

Butler has reportedly already met with the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers this week and was expected to meet with both the New Jersey Nets and possibly even the Detroit Pistons before signing a contract, according to ESPN Dallas.

The biggest issue regarding Butler is how his game will be changed after suffering a season-ending knee injury, but as Tom Ziller pointed out in his top NBA free agents post, picking him up is a bit of a crap shoot regardless of the injury. 

Butler remains a capable scorer, but should be limited to a bench role at this point (and paid accordingly). The saving grace of his pre-injury 2010-11 season in Dallas was that Rick Carlisle's offense is a bit difficult to grasp quickly; he seemed to be getting comfortable when he went down around New Year's. The Mavericks survived (and as such shouldn't prioritize re-signing him), but if he's healthy, teams could reasonably expect a Butler that is better than his numbers looked in 56 games with Dallas.

That said, he's pushing 32 and his three-point shooting last season (43 percent) screams "fluke!" when compared to his career (32 percent).

Butler obviously has suitors as he's a proven player and should conceivably bring scoring and veteran leadership to his new team. The question at hand, however, is exactly what a 31-year-old streaky small forward is worth on the open market.

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