|Giddens reacts to trade||02.18.10 at 8:43 pm ET|
On Thursday, WEEI.com spoke with J.R. Giddens in an exclusive telephone interview after he was traded to the New York Knicks as part of the Nate Robinson deal.
Giddens averaged 1.0 points and 0.9 rebounds in 3.9 minutes per game for the Celtics over the last two seasons. He recently got his first NBA career start in place of an injured Paul Pierce.
Giddens, who turned 25 last week, has been in Boston rehabbing his left knee (meniscus surgery) and predicts he could play in the next three-to-four weeks, depending on the Knicks’ assessment. He expects to leave for New York on Friday morning, and shared his thoughts on his past and present teams:
What was your reaction when you heard you were being traded to New York?
Well I was excited, but it was bittersweet just because I really wanted to do well and show the city of Boston what I could do. But hopefully the Knicks will give me the opportunity.
Why do you think you will be a good fit for Mike D’Antoni’s system?
As a ballplayer, I’ve got to think that I’m a good fit in any system. I’ve had three different college coaches. Then me being athletic in this system because he likes to run-and-gun and get up and down, I’m athletic and I’m best in transition. I could really use my athleticism to help them.
How did playing in Boston in under such a big spotlight prepare you for playing in Madison Square Garden?
Well New York is the mecca of basketball and Boston is a championship town and it’s so traditional. Both of them are obviously so rich with basketball tradition. Being out here and seeing how people appreciate basketball, it gives you that love for the game, and I’ll carry that over to New York if I’m given the right opportunity.
Can you sum up your time in Boston — what you learned and what it meant to play for the Celtics?
I learned a lot from a lot of the veterans and just being under the tutelage of Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers. You get to see great leaders and how they prepare themselves every day and just how they approach life. Just seeing Kevin (Garnett), Paul (Pierce), and Ray (Allen), and even guys like (Rajon) Rondo that are coming into their own, I can see how they conduct business every day, prepare their bodies, the preparation they go into every game with. Just as far as the physical and mental aspect of the game, they taught me a lot. And sitting on the bench with guys like Rasheed (Wallace) and (Brian) Scalabrine, Scal talked to me so much and helped educate me on situations in the game and just how to have my mental.
I think that I was like the little brother to everybody out there, so everybody kind of passed on a little bit of knowledge to me. From the head of the organization down, I’ve had so many heartfelt conversations with even trainers, ball boys, doctors, some of the veterans, some of the young guys, everybody. When you’re a young guy on the team, everybody has some wisdom to give you. So I’ve learned so much that I just feel blessed to be in that position. Now hopefully if the situation’s different, I can apply that on court in New York or wherever I get my chance.
You must be excited that both Eddie House and Bill Walker will be going with you to New York.
Yeah, I’ll still be with those guys and familiar with them, being them for two years now.
What are you most looking forward to about being a Knick?
I’m just looking forward to starting fresh and hopefully getting the opportunity to show coach and players that I can help them win games and that I’m a good player and somebody that they’d like to have on their team.
You have that shamrock tattooed behind your ear. What’s next?
With the shamrock, it took me 22 years to get drafted to the NBA and the Celtics were the first team that gave me the opportunity to go on and play professional and follow my dreams and my heart. Every one of my tattoos means something so that’s always going to be my first, so the shamrock stays.
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