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Lakers Free Agency Rumors: Caron Butler to 'field interest' from Lakers

Could Butler make a return to the purple and gold?

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Caron Butler is expected to be a free agency target for the Los Angeles Lakers this summer after being released by the Milwaukee Bucksaccording to Shams Charania of Real GM. Butler previously played one season in Los Angeles after being acquired by the Lakers along with Brian Grant and Lamar Odom in the trade sending Shaquille O'Neal to the Miami Heat in 2005. Butler, then in the third year of his career, averaged 15.5 points and 5.8 rebounds for the Lakers in his lone season in purple and gold.

Butler, who is about to enter the 14th season of his professional career, is also expected to receive interest from the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs, according to Charania's report. While Butler did have a good relationship with Kobe Bryant while playing with the Lakers and general manager Mitch Kupchak has been open that the Lakers will need more veterans to play with their young core, Butler would seem to make more sense as a ring chasing veteran piece for the Clippers, Bulls, or Spurs than he would with either the Knicks or Lakers.

The Lakers do need depth at the small forward position, and Butler could ably fill that role. He also shot 37.9% on three pointers last season in Detroit, and could provide the Lakers with sorely needed floor spacing as well. Still, Butler should probably be expected to sign on with one of those contenders rather than spend a year mentoring the Lakers' young core. NBA free agency begins at midnight EST on July 1st.