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Caron Butler takes three-year, $24-million deal with Clippers

Butler is expected to upgrade the Clippers at small forward.

December 09, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • Former Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler agreed to a three-year deal with the Clippers on Thursday.
Former Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler agreed to a three-year deal… (Brandon Wade / Associated…)

Caron Butler wanted to be a Clipper and the Clippers wanted the free-agent forward to be a part of what they are trying to build.

For Butler and the Clippers, it all worked out when the sides agreed Thursday to a three-year, $24-million deal.

Butler can't sign the contract until Friday, the first day the NBA will allow teams to sign free agents and the day training camp opens.

Butler's agent, Raymond Brothers, said his client plans on being at the Clippers' training camp Friday afternoon in Playa Vista.

"He's a Clipper now," Brothers said in a phone interview. "I think he's a great fit for the Clippers, on and off the court. He's is excited about the opportunity. I think the fans will love him."

Butler had talked with the Chicago Bulls on Monday, saying on Twitter how much he enjoyed being there.

He came to Los Angeles on Monday night and spent time with the Clippers that night and again Tuesday, and the 6-foot-7 forward was impressed.

Butler then visited the Spurs in San Antonio on Wednesday night, and the word was that he liked it there too.

But the Clippers beat out the other suitors.

"That's huge for us," Clippers point guard Mo Williams said via text message. "He's a nice addition to the nucleus we have. He came from a winning organization and that's key. He's another veteran voice in the locker room."

Butler, 31, a onetime Laker who has played with the Dallas Mavericks since a trade from Washington during the 2009-10 season, is known for his toughness and professionalism. He averaged 15 points per game last season on 45% shooting, 43.1% from three-point range, in 29.9 minutes per game.

But Butler played in just 29 games after having surgery in January to repair a ruptured right patellar tendon in his knee.

Over his nine-year NBA career, Butler has averaged 16.6 points and shot 44.1% from the field, 31.9% from three-point range.

The Clippers didn't get much production out of their small forward position last season and were looking for an upgrade.

Ryan Gomes started 62 of the 76 games he played last season at small forward for the Clippers. But he averaged just 7.2 points and 3.3 rebounds. He made 41% of his shots, 34.1% of his three-pointers.

The Clippers like Al-Farouq Aminu, but the 6-9 small forward lacks experience despite his upside. He played in 81 games, 14 as a starter, last season and averaged 5.6 points per game.

That made Butler attractive to the Clippers. He became even more so when free-agent forward Tayshaun Prince agreed Thursday to re-sign with the Detroit Pistons.

broderick.turner@latimes.com twitter.com/BA_Turner

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