In my Q&A with Rufus on Fire from last week, I tried to draw some comparisons between Caron Butler and a player that he's had some good battles with over the years:
Caron strikes me as a guy that can follow a similar career arc of another small forward that felt snubbed when he was selected 10th overall in the draft: Paul Pierce. They both showed early that they were better than their draft slot and quickly rose to fame as gritty players with loads of talent. Pierce had some lean years with some bad Celtic teams and Caron is going through similar times right now with an injury-depleted team. Also like Pierce, Caron isn't a franchise 1A guy that can carry a team by himself, but with the right cast I think that he can have the same kind of impact that Pierce did during Boston's championship run last year.
One part of the comparison that I failed to mention was the trade rumors that surrounded Pierce during his lean years and surround Caron Butler right now. It looks like Ernie Grunfeld will stick to his guns like Danny Ainge did in 2006 and keep Butler on board, to our collective relief.
It's too early to tell if the return of Arenas and Haywood, as well as the addition of a high draft pick will be able to revitalize Butler's career and lead to a title like the additions of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett did for Pierce, but there's enough support coming next year that it doesn't make sense to give up Butler to jumpstart a rebuilding process when there's still a solid foundation that can be built upon.