Caron Butler visits Spurs

Updated: December 7, 2011, 10:13 PM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

Dallas Mavericks free agent Caron Butler enjoyed his Wednesday morning visit with the archrival San Antonio Spurs so much that he felt compelled to tweet about it.

"Just met with Spurs great visit first class all the way ..." Butler said in his tweet.

Yahoo! Sports reported that the Spurs will use the one-time amnesty clause written into the new collective bargaining agreement to jettison small forward Richard Jefferson, who is due to earn $9.2 million this season and $30 million over the next three.

Reached after his meeting with the Spurs and moments after the report of the Spurs' decision to amnesty Jefferson, Butler said via text message: "I was flattered."

The Spurs would still have to pay Jefferson's full salary, but it would not count toward the salary cap or luxury tax. The move would get San Antonio under the luxury tax and enable them to use the full mid-level exception (starting at $5 million this season) to sign Butler or another player.

San Antonio is aggressively pursuing a small forward to provide a scoring punch around the veteran core of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, who is entering the final year of his contract. It was one of the first teams to reach out to Butler's agent.

A source with knowledge of the situation said that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is exceedingly high on Butler and made it known to him before Butler started his recruitment trip this week with stops at the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers, before meeting with the Spurs.

His itinerary was also expected to include a visit to the New Jersey Nets and possibly the Detroit Pistons.

Butler played just 29 games last season with the Mavs before rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee on New Year's Day. He underwent major surgery, and despite exhaustive rehab, was unable to return for Dallas' championship run.

Mavs coaches and front office personnel consistently lauded Butler's effort to return and he believes his right knee is back to 100 percent.

Dallas, however, is reluctant to offer Butler anything more than a one-year contract, an approach the club seems to also be taking with its other free agents. Center Tyson Chandler and backup point guard J.J. Barea have stated in the past week that they do not believe they will be returning to the defending champions.

The Mavs were not among the half-dozen teams to initially contact Butler's agent last week. Those teams included the Bulls, Clippers, Spurs, Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.

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