The real point of this story is not Caron Butler, but rather what Caron Butler could represent for the Miami Heat.
In speaking with Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports, Butler — the free agent last with the Dallas Mavericks and coming off major knee surgery — said he would consider coming back to play for Miami.
“It’d be interesting,” Butler said in an interview with FOX Sports Florida about the prospect of returning to the Heat.
Asked whether Miami is on his list, Butler eventually said, “Yes.” But he didn’t want to talk too much about the Heat, which is understandable
Butler will have a few teams reach out to him, although it’s hard to envision him landing anywhere but back with Dallas. The NBA champions were better with him on the court last season and if he returns they improve their chances at a repeat. If Mark Cuban wants someone, he usually gets them.
Plus, adding another quality wing player to go behind Dwyane Wade and LeBron James is far from the Heat’s biggest need. That is not where they need to spend their resources (and it will take a few bucks to get Butler).
But for Heat fans there is a larger point — really good free agents are thinking about the Heat. They realize the Heat are a team where they will be in the running for a title, where they can live in a warm weather city and a state with no state tax.
The Heat need to put better role players around their stars (and keep said role players healthy, unlike last season). The likely amnesty clause in the new labor deal — which will have teams releasing overpaid players but some guys who can contribute in a role spot — are the kind of things that matter to the Heat.
Bottom line: at the end of a frenzied free agent period, the Heat will be a better team than last season. That should scare the rest of the league.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.