Most of the talk about Dallas' point guard rotation has involved Jameer Nelson and Devin Harris, and deservedly so. The odd man out for now seems to be Raymond Felton, but the nine-year NBA veteran isn't done yet.
After practice on Wednesday, I was able to chat with him about his career, Mavericks he's developed a connection with and how he likes the city of Dallas. My questions are indicated in bold.
You've been in a "journeyman" role, bouncing around the NBA, these past few years. Does it help that this team has a lot of new players and you're not the only one adjusting to a new culture?
[laughs] I've been in the league for a while so it's definitely different, but it's something I'm used to. I played my first five years with the Bobcats, then I went to New York, got an early trade from Carmelo to Denver, then going to Denver, then going to Portland for half a season, 66 games [in a lockout year], that's really half a season in a sense, going back to New York and now here. It's been a 360 in a sense, started with a team and circled back around to it, and now I'm here. I love it here, the offense has been great. It's really just me trying to get used to coach and the guys on the team, but for the most part I know all these guys. That familiarity is there as far as knowing them, but now it's just getting a better understanding on the court, and that's what I have to do as a point guard.
Did you and Tyson stick together the first few days as you were trying to learn the ropes a little bit?
Yeah, I talked to Tyson off and on during the summer. It's just one of those things when you've been around the league for a little while you understand what you gotta do, it's all about being in a new situation, and a new organization and a new team. But other than that, everything's been good. All these guys have been great. Not just Tyson, but all these guys, Jameer, Devin, I've known these guys for the last nine years, so they've definitely helped me out since I've been here -- especially Devin, since he's been here for a while.
You know these guys, just playing against them in games, seeing them before and after, that's how you know them?
Yeah, just playing against them and stuff like that, some of them I know personally. It's been good.
You're 30 now and entering a new phase of your career where you'll be coming off the bench. How do you adjust your skillset and your mentality for that?
Just being ready no matter what when coach calls my name that I can go out on the court. I got to be ready. [I'm] not starting the game off now, so
You're a UNC guy -- you just missed Ellington and Vince last year. You missed Brandan Wright by a year in college, right?
You knew him from going back and visiting?
Yeah, I've known B-Wright for a while now. He's a quiet guy, great guy though, very skilled. I like him and I'm going to get an opportunity to play with him a lot coming off the bench.
He's a good guy for a point guard to have rolling to the rim, huh?
No question, just like Tyson. Me and Wright are going to have to get that same relationship me and Tyson had [last season in New York], and try to see what we can do.
Another person you know is [Mavs assistant coach] Kaleb Canales, from when you were in Portland. What can you say about him as a coach?
Great guy. He understands the game. He's one of those coaches who's like a rookie player coming into the league. He's hungry, looking to learn, he has that intensity, he's fired up. He really knows what he's talking about and understands the game. I look forward to working with him again. He's a guy who maybe goes through our offensive sets with us, kind of takes over. Coach K has been great, and to have him here, it helps me too -- somewhere to be there for me mentally when I need him.
You call him Coach K?
Coach K, yeah. [laughs] Not that Coach K. Not that Coach K.
What can you say about Dallas that's different than previous franchises you've been with?
I can't really knock any franchise that I've been with because any franchise is an opportunity to play basketball, which is something that I love to do. ... What I will say is that this is one of the best that I've been at. Everybody's been great; the staff, the coaches, everybody's been great. It's been wonderful, man. I'm actually considering moving to Dallas, I love this city. I've been in the Carolina's my whole life, I just want a change, so I'm thinking about moving out to Dallas.
Do you have a family you'd bring here?
No, just me. My son lives back in North Carolina so I'd go back and see him when I can.
How motivated are you for the season?
Very motivated. It's a new opportunity in a new place with a new team. We've got a chance to do something special here. I'm definitely pushing myself and trying to push my teammates each and every day for us to get better as a team collectively.
Thanks for the time, Raymond!