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Oklahoma City Thunder: Was Caron Butler the right choice for OKC, and will he be back?

THUNDER ROUNDTABLE — The Oklahoman’s staff writers discuss three topics surrounding Caron Butler.
by Berry Tramel and Darnell Mayberry and Anthony Slater Published: June 11, 2014

/articleid/4901846/1/pictures/2741835">Photo - Thunder forward Caron Butler speaks to the media after practice at the Thunder Practice Facility in Oklahoma City on Monday, April 26, 2014. PHOTO BY KT KING, The Oklahoman
Thunder forward Caron Butler speaks to the media after practice at the Thunder Practice Facility in Oklahoma City on Monday, April 26, 2014. PHOTO BY KT KING, The Oklahoman

Slater: No. It was needed at the time and, through the Memphis series, he was great. Once he hit the skids, shooting 19-of-61 (31 percent) combined against the Clippers and Spurs, Scott Brooks should have had a quicker trigger, going to Jeremy Lamb sooner. But Butler was helpful and, if he doesn’t hit a sudden slump at the worst possible time, we’re talking about what a great move it was to bring him in.

Tramel: In retrospect, yes. Better to have given Jeremy Lamb those minutes and let him develop. You could say Butler helped OKC get over the hump against the Grizzlies, but since we’re retrospecting, I think Lamb could have done the same thing. Scotty Brooks just needed to relieve the defensive pressure Memphis was placing on mostly Kevin Durant and to some degree on Russell Westbrook. Lamb could have done that. And the growth benefits to Lamb would have been mighty.

Do you think the Thunder will re-sign Butler?

Mayberry: I don’t. But you never know. Butler proved in the regular season that he has something left in the tank, and of course he’s eager to get a championship. So it could happen. But at this point, I don’t see it happening until late September if it does and for little more than the veteran minimum.

Slater: Better chance than people think. The no-show at exit interviews paints a cloudier picture — and could be a sign the professional relationship is over. But knowing how the Thunder likes to construct its roster, he still potentially fits a need. A well-respected locker room presence, a cheap contract and a guy who Scott Brooks trusts. My guess: He’s not back. But I wouldn’t be surprised.

Tramel: No, I don't think the Thunder will re-sign Butler. I don't think it's impossible, but it will have to be for the minimum salary. And the Thunder is ready to move on down the road with Lamb and Perry Jones and probably Reggie Jackson as the primary perimeter players off the bench. Butler seemed to be a solid character guy, so there's always a chance, but I doubt it.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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