Rasual Butler excited, ready to play entire season overseas

Last Monday, Bulls free-agent Rasual Butler signed a one-year contract with Gran Canaria of the Spanish ACB League, according to CSNChicago's Aggrey Sam and Yahoo!'s Marc Spears.

However, there were conflicting reports as to whether Butler's deal would contain an out clause that would allow him to return to the NBA if the league-imposed lockout ends. Butler's agent, Andy Miller, told CSNChicago and Yahoo! that his client's deal with the club included an NBA-out clause, while Gran Canaria GM Himar Ojeda has said otherwise.

"The contract doesn't have that option," he posted on Twitter.

Added Ojeda: “There’s no out clause. In fact, there’s no mention whatsoever of the NBA in the contract. There’s no gray area for interpretation. It’s just a typical European contract.”

Butler, a nine-year veteran, signed with the Bulls in March after getting bought out by the L.A. Clippers. But with Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau's rotation set, Butler became the odd man out. He played in six regular-season games and three playoff contests with the Bulls.

Still, the 32-year-old maintained a professional approach and did his best to stay sharp in case Thibodeau called his number. His breakout game in a Bulls uniform came in the team's regular-season finale against New Jersey, when the 6-foot-7 swingman scored 10 points in 13 minutes of action.

Nevertheless, his return to Chicago was not likely. In addition, the NBA owners and players union remain far apart in collective bargaining negotiations, jeopardizing the upcoming season, which will force players to decide whether to ride out the lockout in the States or head overseas to play competitively. Butler picked the latter -- and he's happy with his decision.

"On my way to spain! Getting ready to Board Gran Canaria here we come! U ready! Let's Gooooooooooo! I'm gonna work so Hard! U have no Idea!!!" he posted on his Twitter page Saturday.

After arriving to Gran Canaria on Sunday, Butler acknowledged that he didn't play up to his own expectations last season, but said he will use that as a chip on his shoulder.

"I want to have a good year here. I was not great last season in the NBA, so I come highly motivated to (have) a good year here," he told Canarias7.es.

"I do not know much of the Spanish League because it will be my first experience in Europe, but I have spoken with Pau Gasol and (he) told me how difficult and competitive this competition (is)."

One player who helped Gran Canaria recruit Butler is the team's starting point guard, Taurean Green, who played with Bulls center Joakim Noah for three seasons at the University of Florida and made a brief NBA stint with Portland and Denver during the 2007-08 season.

"Before signing I had the opportunity to speak with Taurean Green who finally convinced to come to the island. I think it's a great opportunity for me athletically," Butler said.

The Spanish ACB League calls for a 34-game regular-season, running from October to May. Although his agent claimed the contract with Gran Canaria includes an out clause, Butler said he has no plans to leave the Spaniard team during the season.

"I came to Gran Canaria to play all season. When (it's) completed we'll see what happens, " he said.

The stars are aligned for Butler to don yellow and white -- Gran Canaria's team colors -- this fall. And he isn't the only Bull set to head overseas.

Free-agent Brian Scalabrine -- who expressed interest in playing in Europe earlier this summer -- is in Italy and will attend Benetton Treviso's five-week training camp, according to various reports.

However, the 33-year-old forward has yet to sign a contract with the club as he will continue to monitor the NBA lockout situation. Because like Butler's contract with Gran Canaria, Scalabrine's deal with the Italian club won't include an out clause. Even if he plays the entire season overseas, it's certainly a possibility that he winds up back with the Bulls in some sort of role.

Adios, Rasual Butler. Ciao, Brian Sclabarine.

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