The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder are leading the race to sign newly-come free agent forward Caron Butler, according to Yahoo! Sports.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Caron Butler agreed to a buyout of the 12-year forward’s contract on Thursday morning, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski also reported that championship contenders the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat have emerged as favourites to secure Butler’s signature in order to boost their wing stocks heading into the postseason.
Oklahoma City recently pulled out of the race to sign Danny Granger – who was bought out by the Philadelphia 76ers earlier in the week and is expected to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers – which may suggest they are confident of securing Butler’s services.
The San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls are also interested in signing Butler.
Butler, a two-time All-Star with the Washington Wizards, could provide scoring punch and veteran leadership to any contending team. He is a career 15.3 points per game scorer, and was a member of the 2011 Championship-winning Dallas Mavericks.
Initial reports suggested that the Heat were lone favourites to sign Butler. The 6-7 small forward was drafted by Miami with the 10th overall pick in 2002 and played the first two seasons of his career with the Heat. However, the Thunder are in desperate need of offensive punch, with no seasoned scorer behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in their rotation.
Butler averaged 11 points in 34 games with the Bucks this season.
Milwaukee will now be looking to increase the minutes of young forwards Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo.