The Phoenix Suns traded forward Caron Butler to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night in exchange for Ish Smith and Slava Kravtsov. The move addresses Milwaukee's need at small forward while freeing up $8 million in cap space for a team that never needed Butler in the first place.
The trade will immediately help the Bucks, who only have Carlos Delfino, Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo to play at small forward. Eric Buenning of Brew Hoop discussed the impact of acquiring the former All-Star, noting that Delfino could miss part of the regular season because of a foot injury:
Also consider that in Woelfel's article he mentions that Delfino is still rehabbing from surgery he had for a broken bone in his right foot that may require him to miss all of the preseason and possibly a bit of the regular season. Whether that's entirely true remains to be seen, but the thought of the Bucks being left with Middleton and Antetokounmpo on the depth chart to begin the season is, well, gross.
Per contra to Butler being an upgrade for this roster, this move pushes the Bucks more squarely into that 35-40 win territory that the Bucks' faithful all know and hate, rather than leave room for potential fluctuation.
Dave King of Bright Side of the Sun also analyzed the trade, concluding that trading Jared Dudley and a second-round draft pick for Butler and Eric Bledsoe still turns out to be "very good" for Phoenix, especially at a time when "every loss counts" in a rebuilding effort:
Vets win games, even if it's only a few of them. And when a team is in dogfight with Philadelphia, among others, for the best draft selection next spring, every loss counts...
Still a very good deal for the Suns, assuming Bledsoe plays well enough to earn Dudley's minutes. The latter two have no future with the Suns unless there's a rash of injuries during voluntary pickup games next month. Otherwise, they are toast.
What else could it mean for the Suns? Scott Schroeder takes a look at Phoenix's current roster situation and concludes that cutting Michael Beasley may be the next logical step for the organization to take.
Lamar Odom, Lakers rumor shot down
The Los Angeles Lakers were not expected to sign veteran forward Lamar Odom, but a rumor emerged Thursday re-opening the possibility for a reunion. According to the whispers, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak spoke with Odom's agent and laid out the offer that a roster spot would be waiting for Odom if he went to rehab.
Not so fast.
A team source addressed the rumor and clarified that no such conversation happened between Kupchak and Odom's representatives. It remains unclear if Odom will return to the NBA after the Clippers proceeded to sign Antawn Jamison, but reports don't indicate the Lakers making a pursuit.
Hawks release statement on Mike Budenholzer
New Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer was arrested Wednesday night for driving under the influence. Details of the arrest, and a full incident report, can be found here. Budenholzer pleaded not guilty and was released on bond.
Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has since released a statement regarding the legal matter:
"We take this matter seriously and have been in constant communication with Coach Budenholzer throughout this situation. We support him during this legal process and will let that take its course."
Budenholzer has also released a statement, apologizing to Hawks fans and the organization for the negative attention while also stating he will contest the misdemeanor charges.
Comparing Marco Belinelli to Gary Neal
The San Antonio Spurs didn't re-sign backup guard Gary Neal this summer, instead opting to bring in Marco Belinelli from the Chicago Bulls. Neal was primarily a score-first option in the Spurs offense, but remained a critical rotation player behind Tony Parker. He also had a memorable 24-point Game 3 in the 2013 NBA Finals as the Spurs broke the team-record for most three-point field goals made in a single game.
Can Belinelli fill the void he left?
Pounding the Rock's Ian Dougherty compared game film of both players and believes that the Spurs will be just fine without Neal:
Expect Belinelli to have his glorious moments as well as some plays that will make fans want to rip their hair out. His arrival in San Antonio will not significantly help or hurt San Antonio's chances, but he'll certainly keep the team from missing Gary Neal too much. And when you're talking about a team that was one sequence away from being NBA champions, that's not a bad thing at all.