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Oklahoma City Thunder: Caron Butler wants a bigger part on playing for a championship team

Butler already has a ring, won three years ago when he was in Dallas. But an injury kept him from playing even a single minute during the Mavs’ playoff run. Signing with Oklahoma City gives Butler a chance to actually play in a championship series.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 2, 2014

This time, Butler wants a title that satisfies. That’s why he picked the Thunder over the Heat. Both are title contenders — Butler even started his NBA career in Miami — but there were no assurances he’d get playing time with the Heat. Miami brings Ray Allen, James Jones, Rashard Lewis and Michael Beasley off the bench to play that swingman role.

Was Butler going to beat out those guys?

Maybe one or two, but it’s hard to imagine he was going to beat out Allen and get Ray Ray’s shots.

Miami general manager Pat Riley even addressed that issue during a charity event in Miami last month.

“They wanted a meaningful role,” Riley said of Butler and his representatives, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “and I don’t blame them.

“We love Caron. We reached out to him. But he was very definitive with what he wanted, and I don’t think it’s something we could have promised.”

Did Sam Presti and the Thunder promise something?

I can’t say for certain, but they probably didn’t need to. Butler could look at the Thunder and see that its second unit had room for improvement. Jeremy Lamb had been solid but not spectacular. Ditto for Perry Jones.

It’s easier to foresee beating out a Thunder U undergrad than Ray Allen.

The way Butler’s playing right now, though, he might’ve been able to beat out just about any reserve swingman in the league. He makes the Thunder even more dangerous and more potent.

He credits everyone around him.

“The organization. The coaching staff. Obviously, my teammates,” he said when asked why he made such a seamless transition in Oklahoma City.

But Butler’s talents and abilities are part of the equation, too. So is the motivation that he brings from the championship season that was perfect but for his busted knee.

He wants another title, and if he gets to hold the Larry O’Brien Trophy again, he wants to see his fingerprints on it.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at, follow her at or view her personality page at

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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