After the trade deadline passes comes the buyout and free agency period. Contending teams like the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs are looking to sign free agents who can help them win an NBA championship, while players like Caron Butler and Danny Granger are trying to get a buyout from their current teams in order to join a team they can win with.
Right now, according to Marc Stein (ESPN), the Spurs have eyes for Granger, while the Heat, according to the Miami Herald, have an interest in Butler. Two veterans in the final year of their contracts who’ll sign on a veteran’s minimum just so they can get a taste of a championship, and are trying to get themselves a buyout with their current, going nowhere teams.
Caron Butler joined the Milwaukee Bucks after a complicated route from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Phoenix Suns, eventually landing him in his home state, on a tanking team that doesn’t have much use for a veteran who can actually help them win. In 34 games this season (13 coming off the bench), Butler is averaging 11 points while shooting 36.7% from beyond the arc. He will probably be in an even smaller role for the Heat if he joins them, but it doesn’t seem to be something he minds. He was on the Clippers for two years, hoping to get a shot at another title (was on the Mavs’ championship team in 2011), and the Bucks, obviously, don’t offer him that opportunity.
Danny Granger made his comeback this season with the Indiana Pacers, but it didn’t go too well. Too many injuries, too many games away from the floor. He averaged only 8.3 points on 35.6% from the field, and the Pacers decided to make a move – bring in Evan Turner while getting rid of Granger, despite all of his years and service to the franchise. It’s a business, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
Granger doesn’t want to play for the Sixers. He’ll get a shot with another team next season, but he doesn’t want to waste two months playing for another tanking project. There are negotiations about a buyout with the Sixers who are making it a bit more difficult than the Bucks are for Butler, but there’s a chance they’ll get there in time, and Granger will become a better Tracy McGrady for the Spurs this time around.
Nothing is set in stone: The Heat might eventually sign Granger, who used some choice words in the past against them when the two teams met in the playoffs. Forgive and forget. The Spurs wouldn’t mind Butler as well, especially with all their injuries at the moment. The bottom line is that contending teams aren’t done making moves, pending on buyouts these former All-Stars can get from their teams.