Caron Butler’s career is winding down but he’s still making an impact.

Caron Butler - Sacramento Kings

When Caron Butler signed with the Sacramento Kings this summer, he probably didn’t expect the internal drama that has clouded the team’s season. He expected to play more and for a team that was moving in a positive direction with a slew of new, talented, free agent signings. Team progress hasn’t been there, and minutes have been hard to come by. The Kings reportedly promised to trade him at mid-season somewhere where he could have a larger role. The Kings didn’t trade him, and Butler remains in Sacramento.

“Obviously it’s been a challenge, obviously you want to play more and you always feel in your heart and in your DNA that you can do more,” Butler said after a recent loss to the Miami Heat. “But at the same time you just try to be an asset to your organization and to your teammates as much as you possibly can.”

For Butler this season isn’t a road block. It’s not even a speed bump. Butler’s career is winding down. All that matters now is making sure that whatever stops remain are meaningful and of lasting impact.

Butler’s has had a rough past, involving adventures in drug dealing and crime — enough to fill the pages of his auto-biography “Tuff Juice.”

Playing. Not playing. It matters less when you consider the bigger picture and how far he’s already come.

“It has been challenging at times but, at the same time, I’m a resilient individual and I understand we have a job to do and it’s nothing that’s life threatening,” Butler said. “We get paid an unbelievable amount of money to do something that we all have a passion and drive to do, so it puts everything in perspective.”

It’s that ability to turn down the static that sets Butler apart and makes him one of the NBA’s best teammates. Kobe Bryant is close with Butler, despite playing just one season with him (Bryant wrote the foreword to his book). Sacramento is his ninth stop in 13 seasons, but everywhere he goes — no matter for how long — he leaves his footprint.

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