Da’Sean Butler’s long trip back to full health is finally over. After blowing out his knee at the 2010 Final Four, Butler is healthy and eager to begin his NBA career. After being cleared by doctors towards the end of last season, Butler signed a 2-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs. He was never a part of the active roster, but instead the Spurs sent Butler to their NBADL affiliate in Austin.
Before the NBA Lockout ended, Butler signed a 2-week tryout contract with REF Viga in Latvia. The contract would have turned into a 1-year contract should he show team officials that his knee was fully healed. While there, Butler got into a game for the first time since the Final Four. He only played 3 minutes grabbing 1 rebound, but it was a huge step in the right direction. Two days later, the NBA announced the Lockout would end on Dec. 9, and those NBA players who elected to play overseas during the interim, including Butler, gladly came home.
Now on the precipice of his 1st full NBA season, Da’Sean Butler is ready to contribute however he can to the Spurs. Since the announcement of a shortened NBA season, the Spurs used their amnesty clause on former starting SF Richard Jefferson which, in effect, eliminated his contract. The team is conducting a furious search for a new starter, and have shown interest in Caron Butler, Tayshaun Prince, and Shane Battier. Those players already have commitments to other teams. The Spurs spent their 1st Round Draft Pick on Kawhi Leonard. As of now, it looks like he will start. Today, the Spurs will be able to sign someone if they so choose. If the Spurs choose to stick with Leonard, that would help Da’Sean.
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to speak with Paul Garcia of ProjectSpurs.com. Garcia is a unique member of the Spurs media as he is a credentialed media member for ProjectSpurs.com.
I asked Garcia what the Spurs were looking for out of Butler, and he said, “The Spurs are looking for Butler to give them 5-9 points off the bench and also fit into their defensive system. Should Butler return to full health, I feel his passing ability and immediate scoring ability will easily flow into the Spurs’ offensive system. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili love to push the ball up the floor and find the wing man first; from there, the wing player can drive, pass or shoot.
“The Spurs,” Garcia continued, “should also be looking for Butler to attack or shoot the open jumper because he will get plenty of looks when Parker, Ginobili and George Hill attack the paint.”
I asked Garcia what type of future Butler has with the Spurs, providing that his knee is fully healed.
“I feel he has a great chance to make the rotation should he fully recover from the injury,” Garcia said. “He has a great chance to make a permanent spot in the rotation by All-Star break. It depends how he performs in his training camp that will give Coach Pop the confidence to keep him on the Spurs or send him to Austin for some more practice. “