The Heat re-signed 2002 second round draft pick Rasual Butler to a two-year deal worth about $2.9 million. The 6-7, 25-year-old Butler is expected to start at the small forward spot, replacing Caron Butler, now with the Lakers. Known as "Instant Offense" in his days at La Salle for his ability to quickly put a lot of points on the board, he has been an on-again, off-again sparkplug for the Heat whose liabilities appear to be ballhandling and defense. He is working on improving both.
According to 82games.com, Rasual had a very similar Roland rating to Caron. When Rasual was on the floor, the Heat tended to increase their lead by 2.7 points per 48 minutes more than when Rasual was on the bench. Scaling up Rasual's career numbers on an average of 18.7 minutes per game up to Caron's 33.5 average gives Rasual 12.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.9 blocks. That compares to Caron's averages of 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.3 blocks. On a per minute and per dollar basis, Rasual appears to be a significantly better value for the Heat.
Last year, Rasual was a 76 percent free throw shooter and an astonishing 46.3 percent marksman from downtown. Caron was also a 76 percent free throw shooter but hit only 24 percent of his three-pointers.
He can clearly play offense and run. Now the only question is if head coach Stan Van Gundy can feel comfortable with his defense. The Heat are reportedly still considering free agents Eric Williams and Rodney Rogers as backup small forwards.
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Tim Povtak ofThe Orlando Sentinel notes: [Shaquille] O'Neal, who is spending much of his summer in Central Florida, will put on the boxing gloves and climb into the ring against Antonio Tarver, the light heavyweight world champion, at Universal Studios on Aug. 6. It's the main event in a charity fund-raiser titled: Shaq's Mama Said Knock You Out. It benefits the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund, which provides a scholarship fund for individuals seeking careers in nursing. Tickets for the event are $125. For more information, call 813-286-8300.
The Associated Press writes inThe Brattleboro Reformer: The Miami Heat gave Shaquille O'Neal some frontcourt help Wednesday by re-signing free agent forward Rasual Butler.Butler, a 6-foot-7 small forward and a second-round draft pick in 2002, averaged 6.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in 45 games last season. He also led the team in 3-point field goal percentage (.463), ranking second all-time on the team's season list. He has averaged 7.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists in two seasons with the Heat. With Caron Butler having been involved in the blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for O'Neal, Rasual Butler became a projected starter for the Heat alongside guards Dwyane Wade and Eddie Jones. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Contra Costa Times, citing Bloomberg News, writes: Free-agent forward Rasual Butler, Miami's top 3-point shooter last season, re-signed with the Heat. Butler, a second-round draft pick in 2002 from La Salle, averaged 6.8 points per game last season, hitting better than 46 percent from 3-point range.
The Philadelphia Inquirerwrites: Miami Heat rookie Dwyane Wade won't be the pure shooter Allen was, but the international three-point line is closer and Wade ranked 37th in field goal percentage (.465).McGrady and Vince Carter certainly could put up points as swingmen, but Denver Nuggets rookie Carmelo Anthony (21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds), the Los Angeles Lakers' Lamar Odom (17.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.1 assists with Miami) and the Phoenix Suns' Shawn Marion (19.0 points, 9.3 rebounds) are also explosive scorers who are better rebounders.
Israel Gutierrez ofThe Miami Heraldwrites: Early in his rookie season, Dwyane Wade savored the opportunity to play in relative anonymity.The added attention and responsibilities LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony had, Wade preferred not having. Now, after a brilliant second half of the regular season and an even more impressive postseason, Wade is finding out what life is like for James and Anthony. And actually, it's not half bad. ''It just keeps getting better,'' Wade said. ``My mother always told me there's a bigger picture for me. It's bigger than basketball, and God has blessed me in so many different ways.''
Israel Gutierrez ofThe Miami Heraldwrites: The Heat has been scouring the free agent market for a starting small forward, and on Wednesday it may have just found one. Rasual Butler, the Heat's restricted free agent who has seen uneven minutes throughout his first two seasons, re-signed with Miami for two years at about $2.9 million.Veterans Eric Williams and Rodney Rogers remain high on the team's list of possible free agent signings, but either player would still have to compete with Butler for starting duties should they sign with Miami. Last season, Butler shot 46.3 percent from three-point range -- a figure that would have placed him second in the league if he had enough attempts. The ability to consistently knock down outside shots makes Butler a good fit alongside Shaquille O'Neal, who will draw constant double teams. The question mark, though, remains Butler's defense and ball-handling. The 6-7 Butler is probably better-suited at shooting guard, and he has trouble when assigned to more bruising small forwards who like to play inside.