James Caron Butler went through his first practice with the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday. Yes his first name is James but he goes by Caron because that's his grandfather's name. Whatever name he's recognized by one thing is certain. He's happy to be in Oklahoma City after being pursued by Miami, San Antonio and Chicago.
"i just thought it'd be a good opportunity for me as veteran guy to play alongside with some of the elite talent like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, (Serge) Ibaka, (Kendrick) Perkins. The list goes on," said Butler.
Butler's signing comes at a good time for Oklahoma City, who are missing two guard Thabo Sefolosha and center Kendrick Perkins to injury. Head coach Scott Brooks like's Butler's ability to help out at a number of positions.
"He'll definitely get the opportunity to play the two, three(small forward) and I think he can play the four(power forward)," said Brooks. "That's what we like about our guys. We have some flexibility on guys with some versatility that can guard different positions and I think he adds to that."
Butler, a UConn alum, joins a Thunder roster that has two other UConn players in Jeremy Lamb and Hasheem Thabeet. He says those two had sold him on the organization's positive attributes before this opportunity came up. He also is very familiar with the loud crowds that greet the Thunder for every home game.
"I always felt like they had the sixth man, loud out there. It's just a great atmosphere for basketball. Coming from the University of Connecticut, Storrs was always rocking. It's something I missed and was willing to accept back with open arms."
Brooks says he has an idea who will start in place of Sefolosha Tuesday night when the Thunder host the Philadelphia 76ers. He would not say who that player would be.