- Marc Stein, ESPN Senior Writer
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Milwaukee Bucks swingman Caron Butler is scheduled to complete a contract buyout Wednesday that sets him up to become an unrestricted free agent by the end of the week, according to sources close to the talks.
Sources told ESPN.com that Wisconsin native Butler, who is earning $8 million this season on an expiring contract with his home-state Bucks, is on course to be released by Milwaukee on Wednesday and thus clear waivers Friday, well in advance of the Saturday midnight deadline by which time he must be set free to be eligible to play in the playoffs with another team.
The two-time defending champion Miami Heat, sources said, will be at the front of the line to sign Butler, who spent his first two seasons in the league with the Heat and is expected to verbally commit to a team before clearing waivers.
There was a growing sense in NBA front-office circles Tuesday night that Butler is likely to land with Miami, which would potentially leave the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers to battle over former Indiana swingman Danny Granger if Granger goes through with a buyout in Philadelphia.
The Racine Journal-Times was the first to report Tuesday that the Bucks and Butler had entered into buyout negotiations.
4hSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann