Veteran NBA swingman Caron Butler went through his first Thunder practice today and declared himself ready to play Tuesday night against Philadelphia if his number (2 by the way) is called.
"I'll be happy to go in and do whatever I can," Butler said, "whether it's defending and bringing a certain edge on defense or being a stretch guy to knock down shots. I just gotta be prepared for anything."
Butler said the decision to bypass other offers from other teams was a no-brainer.
"Oklahoma was the place that I wanted to be and I decided to come, I prayed on it and you can't question God."
Butler had been pursued by the Miami Heat and many NBA observes figures that's where he would end up but he believes the fit and the opportunity is better here in Oklahoma City. He was also attracted to the idea of playing with his new teammates and being on the home end of the Chesapeake Energy Arena floor.
"It was always a place that I felt like was exciting to play. I felt like they always had the "Sixth Man" loud out there and it's just a great atmosphere for basketball," Butler said. "And I thought it would be fun to play alongside some of the elite talents they have here, like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and (Serge) Ibaka and (Kendrick) Perkins and the list goes on. It's a young core and I just like what they represent."
And the fact the Thunder have so many University of Connecticutt alums, Butler is one too, didn't hurt either.
"There's a couple UConn guys, Jeremy Lamb and (Hasheem) Thabeet and the head trainer Joe Sharpe so I was familiar with all those guys and they always told me so many great things about the organization prior to this season."
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks told reporters Butler will be quick to absorb the Thunder offensive and defensive schemes and sets.
"I'm excited about him. We went through a few things offensively and some of our defensive schemes. He's a veteran guy that is gonna pick up things fairly quickly and he will definitely add to our team in many different ways."
"I'll be pretty much a little bit of every where from our conversation this morning," Butler said when asked about his role.
Butler is mostly known as a "3-4" guy (small and power forward) but he also said he'd be comfortable playing the "2" (shooting guard) also.
"Having Thabo (Sefolosha) down for a couple of weeks and obviously Perk, I'm gonna see a lot of different lineups out there."
Brooks has already said with Sefolosha out he plans to tinker with shooting guard spot. Sunday night Perry Jones III started there. Tuesday it could be Jones again, or Lamb, or Andre Roberson or maybe at some point (though probably not tomorrow) Butler could start there.
"Guys are gonna get opportunities (at that position) and he definitely will get opportunities to play the "2" the "3" and I think he can play the "4" some. We have a lot of guys with versatility who can play multiple positions and I think he adds to that."
Brooks said he also plans to "shorten up the package that we do on both ends of the floor," so that Butler will feel comfortable if he goes in.
And with the Thunder shorthanded, even after adding Caron Butler, it certainly sounds like the newest member of the Thunder will get to feel the appreciation of that "Sixth Man" crowd he talked about Tuesday night because almost certainly his name will be called.