- The Washington Times - Monday, October 31, 2005

It didn’t take the Washington Wizards long to know they were happy with Caron Butler, whom they signed to a five-year extension last night. Terms were not revealed.

However, the Wizards did not reach a deal with forward Jared Jeffries. As a result, the 6-foot-11 forward, who will start ahead of Butler at small forward in tomorrow night’s season opener in Toronto, will become a restricted free agent at the end of this season.

Butler, acquired in the offseason from the Los Angeles Lakers along with Chucky Atkins for Kwame Brown, said his new contract “feels great.”

“You go out and you love the game and you play and do what you do,” Butler said. “But on the other side of it, you want to secure your family, and that is what Mr. [owner Abe] Pollin, Mr. [president of basketball operations Ernie] Grunfeld and the Wizards have done. All I have to worry about is going out and playing basketball.

Butler, who will make his debut with the Wizards at Toronto, said he never saw the extension coming.

“My agent and my mother are spiritual people, and they told me that God would put you in a situation where you want to be. Leaving Miami, a place I liked, was hard,” he said. “And then when I was in Los Angeles, there was a lot of adversity out there, and I really didn’t want to be there. Now I’m signed for five years, and I’m happy and grateful.”

The 6-7 Butler, the No. 10 selection by the Miami Heat in the 2002 NBA Draft, averaged 15.4 points and finished third in rookie of the year balloting. But the following season multiple injuries reduced his offensive production to just 9.2 points.

In the summer of 2004, Butler was part of the deal that brought Shaquille O’Neal to Miami. The Lakers also picked up Lamar Odom and Brian Grant in the swap.

Butler, who will come off the bench at least at the start of the season for the Wizards, was the second-leading scorer for the Lakers last season (15.5). In the final 15 games, however, he averaged nearly 22 points.

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