During the summer of 2010, there were a number of teams that took a look at free agent point guard Raymond Felton. He ultimately landed in New York where he got off to a great start and looked like the ideal point guard to run Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo system. However when the opportunity for the Knicks to trade for a superstar like Carmelo Anthony came around, they had no choice but to pull the trigger and Felton was one of the player’s that New York needed to part with. After Felton landed in Denver it seemed like it was just a matter of time before he got moved again given the fact that the Nuggets already have budding star Ty Lawson ready to run the show in the Mile High city. That time came Thursday night for Felton in a draft night trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. The 27-year-old point guard will join his 4th team in the last three years, but if the two sides have their way, it will be a long-term stay for Felton.
The Blazers have been looking for a point guard for a little while now. Brandon Roy was more of a combo guard and Andre Miller was solid, but was more of a stop-gap. While he has just one year left on his deal, Felton seems to address the Blazers long-term need at that spot and his up-tempo style will be an important asset to one of the slower-paced, half-court teams in the NBA.
Raymond Felton joined 1080 the Fan in Portland to talk about whether or not he is tired of changing teams, what he likes about being with the Portland Trail Blazers, if he thinks his style of play can be an asset to the Blazers and something that works in Portland, whether or not he was out of shape in Denver last year, and if he wants to stay in Portland long-term.
On changing teams so much recently:
“Man I’m definitely tired but I think I found my home though.”
What he likes about Portland:
“I like the situation and I like the organization thus far from what I know. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the organization, I love Coach McMillan and the city of Portland has always been good. Just coming here they’ve got some of the best fans in the league, if not the best.”
How he felt about the Blazers when he played against them:
“They’re a team that plays together and it was tough to play against them in the Rose Garden, very tough. Just a well put team. They’re young, but they have a lot of experience and just looking to make that next step in the playoffs. Hopefully I can add that little piece.”
Whether or not he thinks his up-tempo style will work in Portland:
“I think it’s something that Coach McMillan wants to change a little bit. Maybe not do it as much, but maybe change it a little bit. We’ve got a lot of athletic guys. Even our big men are very athletic so I think it’s something that he kinda wants to change a little bit. Maybe not a lot but maybe a little bit.”
On being a leader:
“I lead by example. I lead by the things I preach about. I’m about playing hard each and every day in practice. I feel like practice is just as important as the game because you practice how you play. I feel like everybody should bring it every single day no matter what. I play through injuries so I’m a warrior and I expect everyone else to be the same way. That’s the way I lead. I lead by example. I’m a vocal person as well. I’m not a guy that’s going to scream and yell at you, but I’m gonna get on you and get on you the right way and you will understand it every time I do.”
If he felt he was out of shape last season:
“In New York I was right on it. In New York I was in my best shape. When I got to Denver, just dealing with a lot and with the trade and stuff, I kinda got off my eating diet a little bit and kinda gained a little bit, but I was still only like maybe between 208 and 210. I wasn’t 230 or something like that they were trying to make it seem like. That’s all it really was.”
Whether or not he thinks Portland can be a long-term answer:
“No, I think I’m definitely willing to sign a long-term deal here so we’ll see what happens.”