The Tulsa 66ers put center Daniel Orton on their training camp roster Wednesday morning and shortly thereafter the Thunder reclaimed the former Bishop McGuinness High School standout.
“I've got more support here than anywhere else, so it feels good to be somewhere where you know you're going to be for sure,” Orton said. “You know it's a business and they're going to make business decisions, so you have to go with it.”
OKC, which previously had waived Orton on Saturday morning, now has a 14-man roster and likely will not fill its one available spot in order to remain under the NBA's tax level.
“I'm happy for him,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Orton, who spent his first two NBA seasons with the Orlando Magic before the Thunder signed him last summer for his league minimum of $854,000. “He worked his butt off all training camp, all summer to get in the condition that he's in. it gives us another big that can play.”
Just hours after Orton was waived, OKC traded away James Harden, Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward and center Cole Aldrich, which left the Thunder with just two centers in Kendrick Perkins and Hasheem Thabeet.
“We always would like to have good bigs around and he (Orton) is another good big,” Brooks said. “I'm excited that he's back and our players are also. One of the tough things in this league is letting players go as a coach. We're not computers. We can't turn (your emotions) on and off. It's an emotional attachment you have with players, but it's good to see a player two days ago you gave him bad news and a few days later, you gave him good news.”
Throughout training camp, Brooks insisted there was a battle between Eric Maynor and Reggie Jackson for the backup point-guard spot.
After Wednesday's hourlong practice before the team departed for San Antonio, Brooks played coy and said media wouldn't know the winner until he inserted the player in the first quarter of Thursday's 8:30 p.m. season opener against the Spurs at the AT&T Center.