The Miami Heat signed rookie Da’Sean Butler to a two-year, $1.3 million contract on Monday. Given the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, despite Butler’s ongoing rehabilitation from his gruesome left knee injury and his resultant uncertain NBA future, the contract was anticipated for quite some time.
Butler’s minimum salary contract will pay him $473,604 and $788,872, respectively, for this season and next. The first season is $300,000 guaranteed. The second season is fully unguaranteed, becoming 50% guaranteed if he is not waived before June 20, 2011, and becoming fully guaranteed if he is not waived before opening night of next season.
Butler will be competing for the 15th and final roster spot with Patrick Beverley (who received a shocking, two-year, $1.3 million fully-guaranteed contract of this own), Kenny Hasbrouck (who received a $250,000 partial guarantee), and Shavlik Randolph (who received a $250,000 partial guarantee).
Butler is still not healthy. He figures not to be for quite a while. Doctors originally thought Butler could be cleared for some basketball activity by the end of September. But the 6-foot-7 swingman had a setback with his surgically repaired knee in July, leading to a second surgery that pushed the estimated timeframe back to the beginning of the NBA season. Butler is now expected to return to game action by February.
“I couldn’t tell you when I’ll be back,” says Butler. “I’ve been trying to find out from my doctors and trainers when would be the perfect time and I get the same answer every time. Everybody’s body is different, so when you’re better, you’re better. You’ll know when you’re better and we’ll know you’re better. So, they will let me know when I’m good to go and I’m fine to do something. All I can do is just wait it out.”
Despite the setbacks, Butler seemingly has the inside track on the final roster spot. Riley has said that he considered Butler to be the 21st best player in the 2010 NBA Draft. He seems intent on keeping Butler through his rehabilitation.
Butler played four seasons at the University of West Virginia, finishing his career with 107 career wins, the most in school history. As a senior he was named First Team All-Big East, averaging a team-high 17.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 38 games.
For his career Butler started in 110 of 146 games for the Mountaineers, averaging 14.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.06 steals while shooting .448 from the field, .353 from three-point range and .732 from the foul line. He scored 2,095 points during his career, ranking third in school history behind Jerry West and Hot Rod Hundley. Butler also ranks among school leaders in career double-figure scoring games (1st), field goals (3rd), three-pointers (4th), free throws (5th), rebounds (11th) and steals (12th).
Butler was originally selected by the Heat with the 42nd pick in the 2010 draft. The Heat was very attracted to his versatility and all-court game. It remains to be seen whether he can retain his already questionable explosiveness and athleticism after rehabilitating from one of the most severe types of injuries an NBA player can sustain.
It is certainly nice to have the benevolent Butler as an official part of the Miami Heat organization.