Sign of the times: Kings waive Butler, Dukan
For the past six months, the Sacramento Kings have been trying to move disgruntled forward Caron Butler, but could find no takers. Today, they decided to just cut their losses and waived the 14-year NBA veteran, allowing him to search out a new deal on the free-agent market.
Butler opted into the second year of his 2-year $3 million deal with the Kings about a week ago. Fans were excited that the locker room leader had a change of heart and wanted to stay in Sac. But, the truth was more likely that he saw an NBA market that had moved on from needing a vet like him and taking the sure money for 2016-17, rather than test free-agency would be a wise business move.
Back in the Summer of 2015, General manager Vlade Divac convinced his old teammate to come play for the Kings with the promise of a significant role both on and off the court. Butler had just finished a year in Detroit where he played in 78 games, averaging 5.9 points. But, head coach George Karl decided his services were not needed in Sacramento and the forward only saw limited action in just 17 games. He finished the 2015-16 campaign averaging a career low 3.7 points and had made it quite clear that he wanted out of Sacramento.
The team tried to trade him by the February deadline, but a deal with Milwaukee fell through at the last minute and Butler was stuck in Sac. By the end of the most difficult season of his career, Caron had some very strong comments about his time with the Kings. An interview with him on KHTK was very telling, even though he tried hard to remain professional throughout.
The sequence of decisions leading up to his final departure from the Kings today should not be surprising to anyone following the team.
Second year big man Duje Dukan was also waived. The former Wisconsin stand-out played in just one game for the Kings, while spending most of his time with the team’s D-League affiliate in Reno. He had an unguaranteed contract for the upcoming season that would have paid him around $875,000. With the recent drafting of centers George Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere, Dukan’s time in Sacramento was clearly limited.
While these two moves don’t free up much, if any cap space for the Kings, it allows those players to seek out other opportunities as neither player was in Sacramento’s future plans. That’s NBA basketball.