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Reactions to the Rasual Butler trade

Published: August 13, 2009

As many of you already know by now, the second-round draft pick the Hornets received from the Clippers in yesterday’s trade is for 2016. also reports that the Hornets gave up Rasual Butler and an undisclosed amount of cash in the deal.

Diving into some reactions to the trade from around the web:

Tom Ziller, NBA Fanhouse:

This is precisely what New Orleans general manager Jeff Bower was not going to be able to do: drop salary in the tighest NBA climate in decades. But lo! the Hornets are actually on the precipice of slipping under the luxury tax threshold…

The Chandler-Okafor swap was major, and some feel it will hurt New Orleans. But even if it’s a downgrade — and I’m not convinced it was — it’s not big enough, combined with the loss of Butler, to destroy the Hornets’ chances. And that’s the key here: cutting salary while maintaining your talent base is difficult. Bower has done it.

William Guillory,

Who will be the starting shooting guard for the Hornets next season?  Who will be the consistent player Chris Paul can look to for perimeter jump shots if Peja Stojakovic continues with his injury problems?  Who will the Hornets use to guard teams such as the San Antonio Spurs or the Los Angeles Lakers or the Denver Nuggets who have an abundance of scoring threats on the perimeter?  What if Julian Wright doesn’t make the big jump that seems to be a necessity heading into next season?  What if Collison and Thornton don’t come in and become major contributors right away?  What if Morris Peterson never returns to being the player he was for that 2007 Hornets team?

These questions probably weren’t on the minds of those in the Hornets’ front office leading up to the Butler deal.  But one question surely was.

What can we do to save some money?

I mentioned this next bit in the comments yesterday, but I figure it’s worth repeating for Mr. Guillory. From a poster at Hornets Report:

[If the Hornets] dont do this trade they are saying Butler is worth 8 million dollars this year. If Butler was a FA, would we pay him close to 8 million? No way.

At The Hive:

I anticipated Bower trading [Antonio] Daniels and Butler in a package (~9 million in expirings) to maximize return, but this alternative was predictable.

The timing probably played a huge role in preventing the pair from being moved together. The Hornets ostensibly must wait at least a month or two to confirm Darren Collison’s abilities at the NBA level. Daniels remains vital insurance as Chris Paul’s backup until then. Rasual Butler, on the other hand, was immediately expendable because Morris Peterson performed at a very similar level for an entire year and knows the system. Staying on the subject of MoPete… while the majority of media outlets are reporting this as “Hornets dump starter,” it is surely a calculated gamble due to Mo’s presence.

Comments from Jeff Bower in the Times-Picayune:

“We’re going to continue looking at many things and continue to work on our roster,” said Bower, who traded for center Emeka Okafor and signed free-agent forward Ike Diogu during the offseason. “And we will, up until we open camp. We’ll be looking at ways to improve our team and continue to have flexibility to do the things we feel will help improve our team.”…

“There were a lot of factors that went into it,” Bower said. “We took a long, hard look at that entire position. In looking at it, we felt we had a lot of options there. This move gives us some more flexibility in that regard, roster-wise, as well as financial flexibility.”…

“I think the factors we looked at were not only (Wright and Thornton) but also Morris Peterson and what he could provide for us and what he did provide for us the season before (8.0 average in 76 games in 2007-08),” Bower said. “As well as with the play of (first-round pick) Darren Collison, it gives us a chance to be creative with different combinations, different players, that will give (Scott) a lot of different options to look at and fit the situations best.”…

Also from that article by Jimmy Smith:

New Orleans still is above the salary-cap threshold this season of $57.7 million. The luxury-tax level for this season was established at $69.92 million, and any team exceeding that figure will pay a $1 tax for each $1 over the limit.

Not counting Diogu’s salary, which has not yet been made public, the Hornets’ payroll for 2009-10 stands at $73,806,443.

John DeShazier, Times-Picayune:

No, dap shouldn’t be exchanged over the trade. The bottom line is the Hornets lost a productive starter, a guy who seemed to have found his niche and who’d become a viable option as a clutch shot maker.

But for now, the franchise is convinced it can cover the loss. This appears to be a golden opportunity for Wright and if he can’t take advantage of it, the fearless Thornton could emerge. And Peterson is being counted on to regain the form he had a couple of seasons ago, when he was the full-time starter.

ESPN’s John Hollinger, in response to a melodramatic question in his latest chat:

Hornets will have a lot more bench scoring this year with Collison and Diogu, and Okafor is a better player than Chandler. I can understand why Hornets fans miss Chandler — he’s a great dude and he played hard. But that trade improved them. As for shedding Butler, be happy — it means they won’t have to trade somebody like West to get under the tax at the trade deadline. Can now do it by trading Daniels and offering $3 mil and a pick to a team under the cap (hello, Memphis!).

Rasual Butler’s reaction to the trade on Twitter:

Whats up Twam its been a long day for me! I was traded to the clippers today! one chapter ends and another begins! gonna MiSS the Hornets!

I am excited about Being a clipper! Thanks N.O. for all the Support u guys gave me! Thank u to all those who have welcomed me to L.A.!!!!

Kevin Arnovitz of thinks Butler could beat out Al Thornton for a starting spot, but…

Butler doesn’t arrive in Los Angeles without some serious shortcomings.  Butler was a lousy rebounder when ranked as a shooting guard. As a small forward, he’s downright atrocious. For those who want to see the Clippers get out and run, that deficiency in Butler’s game — along with his average handle (at best) — won’t do much to ignite the break. Butler is far more effective in a halfcourt game. Although he can space the floor, Butler doesn’t have the vision or finesse to create shots for others, and can’t honestly be characterized as the glue guy the Clippers need at the fulcrum of their offense.

UPDATE: Excuse me for missing Hornets Hype’s excellent tribute piece to Rasual in this round up. An excerpt:

Man, this one still stings. In a personal way more than a basketball way. Because all the guys on this team grow on me and it sucks to have to let them go. Strangely, the thing that brings it home to me more than anything else is when I get down to the end of the post… and I realize this is the last time I’m ever going to use the “Bop” tag. But it stings because this isn’t ‘Sual’s fault. He and Mo just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time– that is, the same place– Mo’s contract is longer and less attractive– it’s math. But I hope it doesn’t diminish the year he had in 2008-09. The fact that he was a rock for us when the team needed one.

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