Caron Butler’s stay with the Phoenix Suns was brief. Real brief.
As Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro learned late Wednesday, a deal between the Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks was completed Thursday.
In return for Butler, the Suns receive guard Ish Smith and center Viacheslav Kravtsov.
The move saves the Suns roughly $6 million in cap space.
And, as Gambadoro noted, the move frees up playing time for younger players Marcus Morris, P.J. tucker and Gerald Green.
“We would like to thank Caron for his professionalism and wish him the best with the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “This deal gives us significant cap space as well as the flexibility to trade for another exciting player, which is how we were able to acquire Eric Bledsoe. It also provides us with two young players in our efforts to build a team capable of sustainable success.”
The move came on quick Wednesday.
Early Wednesday, the Racine Journal Times reported that the Suns were talking with the Milwaukee Bucks about a trade involving veteran forward Caron Butler.
By evening, ESPN NBA insider Marc Stein tweeted, “One source close to talks tells ESPN that Caron Butler has been informed that he will indeed wind up with Bucks. Teams hashing out details.”
Then, finally, this tweet came from Butler himself:
Much respect for the organization of the Phx Suns#staytuned
— Caron Butler (@realtuffjuice) August 29, 2013
Butler, who is set to make $8 million next season in the last year of a three-year contract, was originally acquired by the Suns along with guard Eric Bledsoe in the trade that sent Jared Dudley to the Los Angeles Clippers.
At the time of the deal, McDonough said, “I always admired his toughness and professionalism. When I was with the Celtics and we had our good runs in the playoffs he was a guy we were constantly trying to acquire.”
However, some wondered why a rebuilding team like the Suns would have interest in a veteran who, in all honesty, was probably better-suited to play for a playoff contender. Still, when he arrived in Phoenix, Butler made it clear he would have no problem with his role as a leader and mentor for a young team.
“Just continue to do what I always have been doing throughout my career, setting an example on and off the court,” he said. “Arriving to practice early, leaving late, talk to guys about basketball, about life, family, everything.”
The 33-year-old two-time All-Star is coming off a season in which he averaged 10.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1 assist per game, and has career averages of 15.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per night.