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Caron Butler reflects on chaotic Wizards season
After averaging at least 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 2007-08 and 2008-09, Butler averaged just 16.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and shot just 43 percent this season, his worst production since leaving Los Angeles.
"We was trying to force players to be certain things instead of coming in and letting players be who they are and adapting to the players, not making players adapt to a new scheme. It was just tough," Butler said.
When asked if he thought Saunders knew how to utilize him, Butler said: "Flip is a great person and he's a good coach. I think Flip was trying. I don't know what he was really doing, but I know he had good intentions. I just think things could've been managed better and maybe it could've worked out. Flip's not a confrontational guy. He just tried to do the right thing. I respect him. I respect everybody on the coaching staff. It just ended up not working.
"You had a certain way we was used to playing for a couple of years. Then you had your franchise guy, a guy you needed to be everything he needed to be, coming back, trying to prove a point, show that he was back in a major way. It was just like everybody was on different pages. We was trying to pull it together and frustration and adversity reveals character and you had people speaking out of turn. Basically, it was chaos over there. Now, looking back at it. That was a crazy situation. That was a crazy environment to come to play basketball and keep your head and keep your morale up. Being a guy that's an emotional force on the court and off the court, that was real frustrating and once [Abe] Pollin passed away, it was open season. I was like, all right, anything can happen."
Butler said his rift with Arenas never went beyond the one incident in late November, when Arenas called him out and Butler called Arenas to discuss the situation.
"We had a great relationship, and wherever it went wrong, for that brief moment, we still have a strong alliance," Butler said. "It's all love. I wish him the best. I don't got no grudges or vendettas toward anybody. It's just frustrating to think about what we could've been for so many years. We all are still in the prime of our careers and we're young, so it's frustrating and now we have to deal with this and take this while you have the opportunity. I still text Gilbert. I talk to Gilbert and I was one of his biggest supporters going down the stretch, telling him to keep his head up."
Butler has moved on in Dallas, where he finished with 60 combined points in the last two games against the Spurs. But with his contract expiring, there is speculation that the Mavericks will look to move him and rework the roster after losing in the first round for the third time in four seasons.
Before the series ended, Butler said he planned to move his family to Dallas next season. But no matter where he is, Butler said that he will always have an affinity for Washington.
"Home is where the heart is," Butler said. "There is still a lot of love for D.C."