Veteran small forward Caron Butler has exercised his player option for the 2016/17 season, locking in his contract with the Kings for one more year, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). The option is worth $1,551,659.
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As our list of player option decisions for this year shows, Butler is only the second player who has decided to pick up his option rather than testing the free agent market, joining Cavaliers guard Mo Williams. Considering Butler’s option is only worth the minimum salary, it’s a little surprising he would opt in, but perhaps he figured he’s better off taking that guaranteed money rather than trying to find another team willing to sign him for the minimum.
Butler, who initially entered the NBA as the 10th overall pick in the 2002 draft, barely saw the floor during the 2015/16 season, playing a total of 176 minutes in 17 games for the Kings. Although he was briefly nagged by an ankle problem early in the year, his absences from games were primarily the result of DNP-CDs.
Sacramento reportedly tried to find a trade partner during the season to give Butler an opportunity to play more elsewhere, but ultimately kept him on the roster. The team may again attempt to include the 36-year-old in a deal this offseason — moving his minimum salary shouldn’t be too difficult, assuming there are any teams with interest.
With Butler’s minimum contract now on the books for the 2016/17 season, the Kings are carrying nearly $63MM in guaranteed salary, which doesn’t include the cap hold for their first-round pick. The salary cap is projected to increase to about $94MM.