The deadline to guarantee Rasual Butler's contract is fast approaching. Before January 7 at 5pm ET, the Pacers will have to decide between fully guaranteeing his contract for the rest of the season or waiving his $885,000 non-guaranteed salary in order to create financial flexibility.
Thus far in Butler's brief stint with Indiana he has played in just 17 games, averaging 2.1 points in a little over four minutes per game. That being said, he has made the most of the limited minutes he has earned by shooting an impressive 56.5% from the field, as well as, 56.3% from behind the arc. Before Danny Granger's return from a prolonged strained calf injury, Butler was able to step-in and contribute quality minutes off the bench when several other members of the team failed to find their rhythm (i.e. Solomon Hill, Orlando Johnson, Chris Copeland).
Over at Pacers.com, Scott Agness speculates what the Pacers' motivation would be in the event of a last minute decision to waive Butler:
"Butler's cap hit is $885,000 and the only reason to waive him would be to create flexibility to make a trade without going into the luxury tax, which owner Herb Simon won't allow."
Agness later added the following:
"Unless Pacers president Larry Bird has a deal brewing quietly, which doesn't seem to be the case, expect Butler to continue to provide his leadership and be the solid wing player that he is for the rest of this season."
If the team does, for whatever purpose, decide to waive Butler, the rationale behind the move could also be to clear space to sign another free agent (NBA developmental league, Chinese Basketball Association, etc).
Of course, the more likely outcome is, as noted above, that Butler will still be a member of the Pacers' roster after January 7. As a source close to the team relayed to Agness, "He is a perfect fit for this team."