The Miami Heat reunion tour could have another member.
Former Heat player Caron Butler reportedly has interest in returning to the Heat, and could soon re-join the team that drafted him 10th overall in 2002.
Yahoo Sports is reporting that Butler reached a buyout agreement with the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday morning. The deal gives Butler enough time to clear waivers by Saturday's deadline to be eligible to participate in the playoffs.
The 6-foot-7 Butler still must clear the 48-hour waiver period to become a free agent. With the Heat's schedule and roster situation, a signing next week would make the most sense. Butler will be playoff eligible for his next team, regardless of when he signs.
The Heat currently has a full 15-man roster, but they could open up a spot by releasing DeAndre Liggins early from his 10-day contract.
But Butler, 33, reportedly has other suitors. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Bulls are interested in signing Butler and have already contacted his representatives. Yahoo Sports is reporting the Oklahoma City Thunder, along with the Heat, are frontrunners to sign him, with the San Antonio Spurs also in the mix.
Butler, who was a back-to-back All-Star with the Washington Wizards in 2007 and 2008, played two seasons with the Heat before being dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Shaquille O’Neal trade.
If he lands in Miami, it would reunite him with Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade.
All have remained close friends over the years.
“I love Caron,” Haslem said. “It’d be great. He’s a great locker room guy. He’s a professional and a hard worker. It would be great to have an opportunity to play with him again.”
A Butler return would follow the Heat’s recent practice of bringing back former players. Eddie Jones, Bimbo Coles, Steve Smith and Alonzo Mourning all had second stints in Miami. More recently, the Heat acquired forward Michael Beasley, who they drafted in 2008.
“It seems we’re getting a lot of our old guys back together,” Haslem said. “It’s been what nine years since (Butler’s) been gone? It’d be great to have him back.”
Butler has played for five teams since leaving Miami (L.A. Lakers, Washington, Dallas, L.A. Clippers and Milwaukee). He averaged 11 points and 4.6 rebounds in 34 games with the Bucks this season, making 13 starts.
Butler has missed 20 games due to injury this season, including 12 due to a sore left knee and six because of a sprained left ankle.
Shandel Richardson contributed to this report