In case you missed it, two of Caron Butler’s former teammates – Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant – have been in the news a lot lately. Of course, that’s what happens when two players change teams after a combined 22 seasons of service. Wade is going from Miami to Chicago, while Durant is going from Oklahoma City to Golden State.
Butler was “shocked” by both moves.
“I had to call (Dwyane) last night just to make sure that was real,” Butler said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “You see Twitter and you see all the things on social media and everything trending. Certain things you can’t see – Kobe leaving the Lakers, Tim Duncan in another uniform, Dirk not in a Mavs jersey. Now it’s just hard to see Dwyane in another color. But at the same time, I think it’s a huge win for the Chicago Bulls. Dwyane’s still healthy, he’s performing at a high level, he still can lead a team, obviously he’s one of the best 2-guards of all time, a Hall-of-Famer. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the Eastern Conference this year.”
Butler, 36, began his career in Miami in 2002. He was the tenth overall pick in the draft that year and spent two seasons with the Heat before getting traded to the Lakers. In fact, he was part of the deal that brought Shaquille O’Neal to Miami.
Butler is happy that Wade, a Chicago native, will be able to play for the team he grew up revering.
“He gets to live out his dream,” Butler said. “That’s special feeling. Unfortunately, it had to happen in this way and this shape and this form, but this is a dream of his. That’s what it’s all about. I’m just happy to see a friend fulfilling his dream.”
Durant, meanwhile, will join forced with Steph Curry in Oakland. That duo has won the last three NBA MVP awards.
“I was shocked,” Butler said of the move. “I really was shocked. But at the same time, as a former teammate and a friend, I was happy for him. As a player, we’re judged by championships and hardware and accomplishments – individual accomplishments and team accomplishments. He’s done everything from an individual standpoint – winning the MVP, going to All-Star Games and going to the Olympics. Now I just think it’s all about his legacy. What better way to cap off your legacy than to contend for a title in an environment you’re comfortable with? I think Golden State – obviously that dynasty and what they have, that momentum they have going forward – I think he feels more comfortable with pursuing his career here. And obviously he do because he made that decision to go there.”
Still, Butler would have loved to see Durant win a title in Oklahoma City.
“Getting one there would be like the equivalent of getting one in Cleveland, which LeBron did this past season,” he said. “But him going elsewhere and achieving that goal, I don’t think it tarnishes his legacy or anything like that. I just think it builds on to it – and it’s going to be hard. That’s the Evil Empire now, adding Kevin Durant with Steph Curry. They were the NBA darlings, but now they’re going to be the Evil Empire with that new addition. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens moving forward.”