The Pacers had been expected to carry just 13 players on their roster to begin the regular season, but the team has changed plans and decided to keep Rasual Butler and his non-guaranteed contract, according to Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Part of the motivation may be tied to Danny Granger, who’ll miss at least the first two games with injury, Buckner tweets, so if Granger comes back quickly, Butler’s reprieve might be brief.
Butler, 34, signed a one-year camp deal for the minimum salary with the Pacers in early September after the 10-year veteran played for Indiana’s summer league team as he sought to revive his NBA career. He spent last season, his first out of the Association since his rookie campaign in 2002/03, with the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League. He last played NBA ball with the Raptors, who waived him in March 2012. His last significant role was with the 2009/10 Clippers, for whom he averaged 11.9 points in 33.0 minutes per game.
The Pacers are a couple million dollars below the tax line, so they likely had financial considerations chief in mind when they thought about going with the league minimum of 13 players. Butler probably won’t see meaningful minutes, and unless he proves himself valuable while Granger is recovering, he remains expendable. His contract won’t become fully guaranteed until January 10th.