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Report: Kings promise to trade Caron Butler, maybe to Bucks

Sacramento Kings v Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 04: Caron Butler #31 of the Sacramento Kings handles the ball during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on November 4, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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The Kings signed Caron Butler to serve as a veteran leader on a team embroiled in a feud between DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl.

But Rajon Rondo has taken lead in that role, according to both Cousins and Rondo.

Where does that leave Butler?

Maybe Milwaukee.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Bucks might need to replace Jared Dudley’s and Zaza Pachulia’s veteran leadership, but they definitely need to replace Dudley’s and Pachulia’s production.

I don’t see Butler helping there.

Milwaukee was always in danger of taking a step back by dumping Dudley, Pachulia and Ersan Ilyasova. Those veterans were quietly productive during last season’s surprising run to the playoffs. Signing Greg Monroe could pay off in the long run, but the younger Bucks are less ready to win now.

The 35-year-old Butler doesn’t do much offensively anymore besides spot-up, and his defense has gone with his athleticism. He’d be a positive in the locker room, but I don’t think that gets 10-16 Milwaukee into the playoffs.

I’m also uncertain why Butler would welcome that move. Butler – who grew up in nearby Racine, Wisc. – played for the Bucks in 2013-14. Like many players, he found playing near his hometown too distracting. Maybe he’d be more equipped to handle it this time, but he seems aware enough to understand and prefer to avoid the pitfalls.

What would the Bucks trade for him, anyway? Though Butler has a minimum salary, they can’t simply absorb him, because they have a full roster of 15 players. Milwaukee is so deep, it doesn’t have a player just to dump. Everyone is either productive or young enough to have the potential to become productive. That issue could also limit playing time for Butler – who has seen just 80 minutes in eight games for Sacramento – if he winds up in Milwaukee.

Plus, Butler has a player option for next season. I’m not sure how many teams want to be on the hook for paying him, even that small amount against a skyrocketing salary cap, in 2017.

Keeping this promise might be easier said than done for the Kings, though the Bucks have dropped a better younger player to add one of Jason Kidd’s former teammates before. I wouldn’t put it past them doing it again to reunite the former Mavericks.