Nuggets to Sign Butch From NBA D-League
The Nuggets will sign center Brian Butch of the NBA D-League Bakersfield Jam for the rest of this season and with a non-guaranteed deal for next season. The move comes with the team needing depth in the post due to injuries to Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen.
The Nuggets had considered a number of veteran players, and last month worked out Brian Cook and Jake Voskuhl. But they decided instead to go with Butch, who never has played in the NBA but was Most Valuable Player of the Feb. 13 D-League All-Star Game.
"We found out [Saturday] that he was going [to Denver],'' Jam guard Jeremy Wise told FanHouse. "Everybody on the team was really happy for him. We all wished him luck.''
After getting the news, Butch didn't play in Saturday's 112-95 loss to Sioux Falls. Wise believed Butch left Sunday for Denver.
Locking up Butch to a non-guaranteed deal for next season is a Mark Warkentien specialty. The Nuggets executive often has made such moves with late-season signees in order to make sure the player will be part of the team's summer league and to give the Nuggets flexibility since the player could be used in a trade with a team that wants a non-guaranteed deal for salary-cap reasons.
The 6-foot-11 Butch, who played at Wisconsin, averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds this season for the Jam. Butch, 25, had 18 points and 13 rebounds in 21 minutes in winning MVP honors in the D-League All-Star Game.
"I think he'll do real well [for the Nuggets],'' Wise said. "He works real hard.''
The Nuggets need a big man due to Martin being out indefinitely with tendinitis in his left knee and Andersen having suffered a sprained left ankle last Thursday against Portland. Andersen sat out Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers, and is listed as day-to-day.
In addition to Cook and Voskuhl, the Nuggets had been considering NBA veterans Mikki Moore, Mark Blount and Rob Kurz. Ultimately, though, they went with Butch, whom Warkentien had liked after seeing at Bakersfield, for their 14th roster spot.
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