Source: Caron Butler has 4 meetings set
Butler will visit with team officials from the Chicago Bulls on Monday morning, followed by trips to sit down with officials from the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday and possibly the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, a source close to the situation confirmed Sunday night.
The source said that those teams understand that Butler, 31, is not interested in a one-year contract, the length favored by the Mavs to bring back the nine-year veteran.
Butler is returning from a ruptured patellar tendon in his right knee that he sustained on Jan. 1. He underwent surgery a few days later and missed the rest of the season. Butler has spent the majority of the offseason training in Chicago and says that he is fully recovered.
The NBA is permitting team executives to begin talking to free agents as of 9 a.m. CT Monday morning. Teams have been allowed to talk to player-agents since Wednesday.
Dallas could simply be letting the early process play out as owner Mark Cuban and president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson strategize a game plan moving forward under the new collective bargaining agreement.
They are also hoping to re-sign center Tyson Chandler, who last week told ESPN.com that he did not expect to return to the Mavs.
Chandler, who brought accountability to the Dallas defense in his first season with the club, is also making the free-agent rounds this week with plans to visit the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Nets, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
If the Mavs are headed in a different direction, they could see Butler move a few hours south to their hated Southwest Division rival.
The Spurs could clear enough cap space to offer Butler the full mid-level exception starting at $5 million. That would require using the one-time amnesty provision to jettison small forward Richard Jefferson, who is due $9.2 million and has mostly underwhelmed in two seasons in San Antonio.
As for other Mavs free agents, shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson will begin a series of conference calls Monday with interested teams, according to Stevenson's agent Mark Bartelstein. More than a dozen teams, Bartelstein said, showed initial interest in the 30-year-old veteran, including the Mavs.
Barea, who reiterated on Friday during a brief phone conversation that his priority is to remain with the Mavs, is expected back in Dallas on Tuesday.
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavs for ESPNDallas.com.