HOUSTON -- Smiles. Laughter. Happiness. Jubilation.
Those are the words Royal Ivey used to describe the scene when he walked through the doors and spotted his old friends on the Oklahoma City Thunder and they spotted him.
Ivey rejoined the team Thursday after signing a 10-day contract. He will be available for the team's game at Houston.
The 32-year-old point guard spent two seasons with the Thunder, from 2010-12, and averaged 1.9 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.3 assists in 59 games.
He gives the team a third point guard in the absence of All-Star Russell Westbrook.
"It's a good feeling," Ivey said. "It's always great to be back, especially with an organization like this. A group of hard-working guys and familiar faces. Whatever they need, I'm here to help out."
Ivey spent last season with Philadelphia, appearing in 53 games and averaging 3.2 points, 1.1 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 13.2 minutes.
He joined Atlanta for training camp and the preseason before the Hawks waived him prior to the start of the regular season.
After declining offers from overseas clubs, Ivey decided to wait on another NBA opportunity. While working out between Atlanta, Austin, Texas and Delaware, Ivey had maintained contact with Thunder general manager Sam Presti. Their relationship ultimately is what made his return materialize.
"They gave me the call and I was kind of speechless," Ivey said.
Affectionately referred to as "Smoke" by teammates, Ivey was a locker room leader and friend during his time in Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant considers Ivey his best friend in the league.
"We're all happy," Durant said. "He was a big part of our championship run when we went to the Finals a few years ago. Just his presence in the locker room, his leadership, his veteran leadership, he did so much for Reggie (Jackson) and myself. He's ben a big brother to me since I was 17 years old. Just to have him back feels good. Just to see him back in the league, I'm happy for him."
Ivey said he wants to help anyway he can, whether it's motivating teammates, encouraging them or pushing them.
"One of the things that we all love about him," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, "he's always been a player that's committed to winning, whether he plays a minute or whether he plays 30 minutes. He's not playing 30 minutes. But he's a great guy. He's loved by all of his teammates. You're never going to hear a bad thing said about him. And you win with guys that have that fiber of winning and doing whatever it takes to win. And he's always been that type of player. He's a great teammate. You're not going to find a better one."