The Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns are "seriously engaged in trade negotiations" that would send veteran forward Caron Butler back to his native Wisconsin before next season, Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times reports. Butler grew up in nearby Racine, but has never had the chance to return back to his home state.
While the two sides haven't made anything official yet, both ESPN's Marc Stein and HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy report the deal will get done. Stein's source says the Suns have already notified Butler he's heading to Milwaukee, while colleague Ramona Shelburne notes he's "very involved in the community" there.
Sent from the Los Angeles Clippers to Phoenix this summer in the three-team deal involving the Bucks and J.J. Redick, Butler never really fit into the rebuilding culture of the Suns franchise. At 33 years old, the former All-Star is a fraction of his former self, though he still played a significant role on a winning Clippers team last season.
Given a non-existent role in Phoenix, a Butler trade seemed inevitable, but inflexibility caused by the CBA may have impacted negotiations. As the CBA FAQ explains, there are restrictions on Butler's trade availability until Sept. 10:
For two months after receiving the player in trade, if the trade aggregates the player's salary with the salaries of other players. However, the team is free to trade the player immediately, either by himself or without aggregating his salary with other salaries. This restriction applies only to teams over the salary cap.
Because Butler's salary was combined with Eric Bledsoe's in order to facilitate the deal involving Redick and Jared Dudley, he can only be traded by himself for the next few weeks. That could complicate the finalization of the trade, though the Bucks could simply acquire Butler individually right now.
In Milwaukee, he could give the team a veteran presence as it looks to return to the postseason in 2013-14. After letting go the likes of Mike Dunleavy and Luc Mbah a Moute this offseason, Butler could contribute to a small forward rotation including Carlos Delfino, Khris Middleton and possibly others.