Caron Butler left a meeting with Nets general manager Billy King last month thinking New Jersey would be a great place to land as a free agent. As Butler put it, within 20 seconds, "if that," he was looking West.

"Signing with New Jersey would be nice," Butler claimed was his thought as he exited his meeting with the Nets. "I seriously considered going there."

Then he got the call from Clippers VP of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. His new thought?

"L.A. would be nice, too."

And that was where Butler eventually signed — before the Clippers had Chris Paul or Chauncey Billups or had re-upped DeAndre Jordan. Butler took a three-year, $24 million deal because, as attractive as the Nets seemed, he didn't want to wait on the Dwight Howard saga, despite the urgings of friend Deron Williams.