LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Clippers have acquired shooting guard Rasual Butler and cash from the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for a conditional second-round draft pick in 2016.
Butler had the most productive season of his seven-year career in 2008-09, averaging 11.2 points and 3.3 rebounds while playing in all 82 games for the Hornets, who made the playoffs. He shot 40 percent from the floor and 37 percent from 3-point range to match his career averages.
"We believe he is another piece who will help us get back to being a competitive playoff team," Clippers coach and general manager Mike Dunleavy said.
The move will save the Hornets about $3.9 million while opening opportunities for competition at guard between 2007 first-round pick Julian Wright, veteran Morris Peterson and rookie Marcus Thornton, a former LSU star who the Hornets acquired through a trade with Miami during the second round of the draft.
"One chapter ends and another begins! Gonna MISS the Hornets," Butler said on his Twitter feed. "I am excited about being a Clipper! Thanks N.O. for all the support u guys gave me! Thank u to all those who have welcomed me to L.A.!!!!"
Butler played three seasons in Miami before being traded to the Hornets in 2005.
The Hornets have been trying to lower payroll to reduce their exposure to the NBA's punitive luxury tax.
The league has a dollar-for-dollar tax on teams with payrolls that exceed a certain threshold set every summer. When the NBA set that mark at $69.9 million last month, New Orleans' payroll was around $78 million, meaning the small-market Hornets faced the prospect of having to pay about $8 million in luxury taxes back to the league if they didn't make any deals by next winter's trading deadline.
When the Hornets traded Tyson Chandler to Charlotte for Emeka Okafor in late July, they lowered payroll by about $1.3 million. By trading Butler, they have now cut total payroll by about $5.2 million this summer, and their savings effectively could be double that amount because their exposure to the luxury tax also has been lowered.