Traded by the Los Angeles Clippers to the Suns earlier this summer, Butler was shipped to his hometown Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday in a deal that landed Ishmael Smith and Slava Kravtsov.
The trade also created more cap room for the Suns, who exchanged Butler’s expiring $8 million deal for the combined $2.5 million of Kravtsov ($1.5 million) and Smith ($950,000).
“This deal gives us significant cap space as well as the flexibility to trade for another exciting player, which is how we were able to acquire Eric Bledsoe,” Suns GM Ryan McDonough said in a statement. “It also provides us with two young players in our efforts to build a team capable of sustainable success.”
In a tweet last night, Butler suggested he might be on the move. The native of Racine, Wisconsin joins his seventh team. A two-time All-Star, he gives the Bucks a legitimate small forward other than undersized Carlos Delfino and rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“Caron gives us depth at the small forward position and will be a mentor for our younger players,” Bucks GM John Hammond said in a statement.
In a three-team deal in July, the Clippers traded Butler and promising guard Eric Bledsoe to the Suns for Jared Dudley. In that deal, the Clippers also acquired J.J. Redick from the Bucks in a sign-and-trade.
Butler’s departure leaves Channing Frye – who is trying to return from a heart ailment – as Phoenix’s oldest player at 30. The Suns have nine players 24 or younger, and that does not include the new arrivals.
Smith, 25, came to the Bucks from the Orlando Magic with Redick in February. Kravtsov, 26, also was dealt for the second time this summer, going from Detroit to Milwaukee in the Brandon Jennings sign-and-trade.
Milwaukee now has 15 players under contract. Phoenix, which also announced the signing of first-round pick Alex Len, has 17.