Locker Room Cleanout and the Occasional Random Observation, Part 3: The Oldies but the Goodies
** [So you and I were chatting yesterday and I said, "When are you going home?", and you said, "This is home."] Yeah, this is home.
** [Highlight of Jazz career (my edit: so far)] Definitely when we went to the Western Conference Final. We have a great chance, play San Antonio, we lost unfortunately. That season wasn’t great for me, but as a team we unite and really do well.
** [The Jazz] definitely my first choice. So many good memories here. Ten years, you don’t want to throw it out so quick so Jazz gonna be definite priority.
** [Factors for your decision? Money? Championship? Playing time?] I’m definitely not going to look for the money. I think I got enough. (Probably my favorite quote of the day.)
** [How would you describe the season in a couple of words?] (Long pause) It’s like a…how you call that animal with the stripes? Zabra? Zebra? I think that’s kind of season we have this year. We start so well, we have games “Kings of Comeback.” Everybody remember Miami, Orlando…and then in the middle of the season we have so many changes which never goes well.
My take on this: In Russia, they ride zebras at amusement parks instead of roller coasters.
** 3 or 4 years ago I have conversation with Larry when I said, “Look, there’s something gone wrong. I’m ready to break my contract. You can take the money.” Larry said, “Look, we sign you and we want to honor it. We think you have to contribute as much as you can, as much as Jerry wants from you so we don’t worry about that. Just play the game.” And whatever role Jerry gave me, I accepted and try to be as much contributor as I can…All I’m trying to do, play hard on the floor and be good person to community.
** I’m so grateful to the fans for all those years, they’ve been so supportive and they’ve been so good to me, to my family. It’s never gonna be forgotten…Even this season we finish out of Playoffs, they say we don’t worry about that, we have faith next season gonna be way better. This is worth a lot, I’m telling you ’cause that’s really blessing that Utah Jazz have such loyal fans.
Remember a few weeks ago when Brian T. Smith was twisting everything Al said in a public vendetta against Big Al? I don’t know what Ross Siler’s issue with AK is (is it a Trib writer thing?), but he’s doing the same thing with AK and this tweet today just took it over the top. AK says he’s giving the Jazz top priority, and Siler turns it into this:
** [Thoughts on the future?] Personally, it was a tough (year) for me. It was one that I wasn’t as prepared for as I was in the past just because in my heart of hearts I don’t think I worked the right things enough. I really didn’t know what I needed to work on. So I’m excited about that as I’ve said before because I have an opportunity now I can target what failed me this year. [Such as?] My jump shot…And that’s cured by just going into the gym and shooting 1000s of jump shots which I’ll go do…I thought our young players were playing really well towards the end of the season. I thought Ty made strides as a head coach being thrown into the fire late in the season, and so that’s momentum, and I think we’ve got that.
** [This obviously wasn't what you signed up for, how confident are you that this can turn around sooner than later?] I’m very confident, and I did sign up for it. I signed to come play for the Jazz, and when you sign a contract you kind of take the good with the bad. It’s what you chose to do and where you chose to go. The end result isn’t what I wanted, but I played as much a part in that as anybody, so I can’t really point any fingers or be mad. I just have to do my part this summer, and come back ready to play.
** [Do you have to instill a winning mentality in the young guys?] You have to catch guys early in their career, Gordons and Jeremys and Derricks, and make them understand this isn’t the way it goes. This is, not a failure, but you haven’t succeeded in what you really wanted to accomplish this year, and if you can instill that in them early, you’re good. The rest of the guys in here played on good teams before and I don’t think they’d ever be comfortable with this, but you really want to make sure your young fellows don’t get in the habit of going home in mid-April.
** [Do you think you'll be back next year?] I hope I’m back next year…Utah’s like a home to me. This organization’s been my family. It’s been perfect timing for my personal life and at the same time I love my teammates. Love being here, love the fans, so hope I’m here. / I want to be back. I want to be back because what I came here for isn’t done. I came here to win the West, I came here to win a championship, I came here to help the team do that.
** [Highlight of the season] For me personally, just having experience with Coach Sloan. That was like an amazing experience and then also coming into the first season, so to speak, of Coach Ty…To experience, to me, one of the best coaches in basketball ever and to have one of the best young coaches is a good balance. / Coach Sloan reminds me a lot of Hubie Brown, and when he speaks he reminds me a lot of Coach Wooden. So to have that experience for me is monumental in my career and life. I don’t think I have any other choice but to be a coach because of the people I’ve been around.
** On Gordon: His last game of the season remind me a lot of Kevin Durant’s last game his rookie year. He had a great game, similar, and hopefully he can become a better player which I know he will because he loves basketball.
** It’s been a rough year, and I gotta look forward now. It’s gonna be long summer, and hopefully I’m gonna take advantage of the summer and get back here 100%.
** Summer plans: I’m going to go Turkey right away, because I couldn’t go last summer ’cause I had surgery. I’m just going to go out there and start work out right away and in couple weeks do cardio and focus on my leg and my back…I’ll be staying in Turkey for 6-7 weeks and come back here a little bit, and go back San Diego.
** [Do you expect to see Andrei back here?] I have no idea, but I would like to see him back, because seven years with him. He made me a better player, and I really like him as a friend and as a basketball player. Hopefully we gonna see him back next year.
** It’s been a tough season, ups and downs. In the beginning I think I played very aggressively, and then it dwindled down to little nagging injuries. Obviously, thinking I could’ve done better and it wasn’t, so all in all I think it was an up and down season for me.
** Summer plans: Right now, I just gotta rest this knee and try to get back healthy, and as soon as that happens, I’m going to go full blast and try to come back stronger and be more focused and be more of a vocal leader.
** [Are you going to play with the Dutch national team?] I am. I’m going to go back and play with the national team ’cause they need me ’cause I’m such a superstar. (laughs) No, but I gotta go back and play with the national team and hopefully qualify for “A” Division. That’s
all my plans.