Caron Butler Was ‘Very Close’ to Signing With Heat

by January 15, 2012

After dropping 20 in the Clippers’ OT win over the Heat, Caron Butler told the Miami Sun Sentinel that he nearly signed with Miami, a city he considers home: “Caron Butler was on the way back. Perhaps not to stay, but his ticket to South Florida was booked. The early-December meeting, reunion if you will, was set with Pat Riley. And then the Los Angeles Clippers said take-it-or-leave-it, not for as much as the New Jersey Nets bid in free agency, but for more than the San Antonio Spurs offered. Butler felt he couldn’t wait, even if it meant putting a friend on hold. ‘I was very close to coming back,’ Butler, the Heat’s first-round pick in 2002 NBA Draft, said Wednesday, when the Heat faced the Clippers at Staples Center. ‘It was very close. I talked to my agent and I went to visit San Antonio and after I went to visit New Jersey, my next visit would have been Miami.’ That’s when the Clippers not only sprung their three-year, $24 million offer, but said they needed an immediate decision from the veteran small forward, as if they knew the sway Riley and Dwyane Wade might hold. ‘The Clippers had put an offer on the table that I couldn’t refuse,’ Butler said on the night his 20 points went a long way toward defeating the Heat in overtime.”