If there is one player over the last few years in the NBA who is not remotely surprised about being traded at any time you can look at Jason Richardson. J-Rich was the fifth overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors out of Michigan State. The man has won an NBA Rookie Challenge Award, All-Rookie First Team honors along with the NBA slam dunk crown in 2002 and 2003.
Richardson was a fan favorite it Golden State, but was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats in June of 2007 along with the draft rights to the 36th pick Jamareo Davidson for the draft rights to the #8 pick Brandan Wright. In 2008, Richardson was traded with Jared Dudley, along with a second round 2010 draft pick for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, and Sean Singletary. He brought a nice backcourt scoring threat, which took the load off of Steve Nash to an extent in Phoenix, but was looked at as a tradable commodity going into this season. In 2010, J-Rich called Orlando the 4th home of his career being dealt in a blockbuster deal along with Hedo Turkoglu that highlighted Vince Carter going to Phoenix and Gilbert Arenas going to the Magic as well.
Richardson is currently averaging 14.1 points-per-game this season as he makes a transition into a new offense in Orlando. None of that matters to this veteran guard who is looking to win an NBA championship. He’s just happy to be on a contender with an emerging superstar in Dwight Howard. The Orlando Magic are currently 41-24, which is 4th in the Eastern Conference and Richardson looks to make his presence felt this postseason.
Jason Richardson joined KTAR in Phoenix with Gambo and Ash to discuss his reaction of being traded from Phoenix to Orlando earlier in the season, if the trade to Orlando easier to digest because he would be playing with Dwight Howard, what was the transition like being traded to Orlando and having to contribute immediately, how long did it take him to get comfortable with the Magic and what is it like playing for Stan Van Gundy.
Let’s go back to when you were traded. Were you shocked when Phoenix moved you to Orlando?
“No I wasn’t shocked at all. I knew it was kind of coming. My agent gave me a heads up the Friday before the Mavericks game we played that there may be the possibility that I might be traded. I knew it was coming. I was kind of expecting it.”
Did it make the trade easier that you were going to Orlando and that you would be playing with the big man Dwight Howard and have a shot at winning the championship?
“Oh yeah it made things a lot easier knowing that I’m going to Orlando, one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, playing with a dominate force in Dwight Howard. It made the trade a lot easier for me.”
What’s the transition like getting traded and having to uproot your whole family, move across the country and than expect to contribute immediately?
“Yeah exactly. I don’t think fans understand that aspect of the game. You’re basically leaving everything, just picking up, going somewhere to start something new. When I got traded I only had two outfits with me and I went straight from Oklahoma City to Atlanta to play a game the next day. You know having two pairs of a change in clothes is really tough and trying to figure out ways to get there. Also trying to stay focused on playing basketball.”
How long did it take you to get comfortable in Orlando?
“It took a little bit of time. This team is not as much about being a primary scorer and in Orlando I don’t have to be that because we have Dwight Howard, Gilbert [Arenas], myself, Hedo [Turkoglu], Jameer [Nelson], we got so many guys, J.J. Redick, you could just go down a list of guys who can score. I knew my scoring was going to take a dip. I didn’t have a problem with that as long as we winning games that’s all that really matters.”
Tell me about Stan Van Gundy. What is he like?
“He’s a great guy. I mean just all the antics he do and antics, I mean just going out there and coaching. He’ll say something about commissioner [David] Stern. He’ll say something about the Miami Heat. It’s just typical Stan [Van Gundy]. It’s just fun being around a coach like that. He expects you to play and if you play hard you definitely not going to have any problems with him.”