Rasual Butler traded to Clippers for 2nd round pick

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Published: August 12, 2009

Rasual Butler

It’s on NOLA.com and NewOrleans.com, and all over Twitter: The Hornets have traded Rasual Butler to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for “a future conditional second round draft choice.”

(No word on what those conditions are just yet.)

There were rumors that the Hornets were not done dealing this summer, and I guess the loss of Rasual — the only Hornet to play in all 82 games last season — is the price we have to pay for not dumping huge chunks of salary in the Okafor deal.

It looks like Rasual’s departure will save us a good chunk of change. From NewOrleans.com:

Butler is in the final year of his deal and scheduled to make $3.94 million. The deal provides relief to a team facing the luxury tax for next season. New Orleans was nearly 8 million over the luxury threshold ($69.92 million) before unloading a regular starter from last year’s lineup.

So in essence this deal saves George Shinn about $8 million (Rasual’s contract plus the dollar-for-dollar luxury tax penalty). Nothing to be sneezed at.

But how will this move affect the team’s performance on-court?

Rasual moved into the starting lineup early last season when Morris Peterson was having injury problems, and he played so well that Byron never put Butler back on the bench. His numbers weren’t outstanding (11.2ppg, 3.3 rpg in 32mpg), but his shooting ability helped spread the floor and more often than not he could handle his business defensively against some of the League’s elite wings (remember his performance against LeBron James last November?). And judging by his Twitter updates the last few months, Rasual had been hitting the gym hard to improve on his best season as a pro.

So yes, Rasual was a nice player to have on your roster, and it worries me that we’ll now be relying on Mo Pete or Julian Wright to soak up most of the minutes at 2-guard. But let’s be real here: we weren’t winning a championship with Rasual Butler starting alongside Chris Paul in the backcourt. Shooting guard was the weakest spot on the roster yesterday, and now it’s just that bit weaker.

Best case scenario: We’ve saved some significant dollars and the deal opens up some playing time that JuJu and Marcus Thornton can put to good use.

Worst case scenario: Peja gets hurt again this season, we’re left with no outside shooting threat and Devin Brown ends up starting.

Leaving you with some good memories:

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