Interview: Blazers’ Randolph discusses return to team
Interview with Portland Trail Blazers forward Shavlik Randolph following a shootaround at the team’s practice facility in Tualatin, Ore. Randolph was signed to a non-guaranteed contract Wednesday.
On once again being a Blazer:
I’m honored and privileged to be back part of this team.
On when talks began:
When Miami released me and a lot of injuries come up with the Blazers. We started talking, and every couple days, we’re talking more. And then I got the phone call yesterday, saying that they’re ready to pull the trigger. And, like I said, it’s such a blessing; I’m so privileged to be back here.
On how he is approaching his return:
The same way I’d approach it if I had a long-term deal. I mean, it doesn’t matter. Basketball is basketball and I’m going to play hard. I’m going to do what I can to help the team. I’m going to do the same things I did last year. And I know the vision of this team and where they’re trying to go, and I’m going to support that in whatever way I can.
On knowing the team’s culture:
Oh, it’s great. Like I said, it feels good to be back home. This became my home. Just the guys on the team became like my family. And I missed them even when I wasn’t here. I missed them. Like I said, I can’t emphasize enough just how happy I am to be back.
On his off time:
As soon as it happened down in Miami, I went back home pretty soon after. And I just stayed in shape. I was hoping something was going to come up pretty soon. I just did my best to shape and stay ready.
On his role:
Obviously, they need help down low a little bit, with so many big guys getting hurt. Just to be ready if my number’s called. Like I said, do what I did last year; do what I did my whole five years in the NBA. If my number’s called, to go out and play hard and do the best I can. And try to be a positive influence in the locker room and try to do my best.
On his relationship with coach Nate McMillan:
Oh, it’s great. I’ve known Nate for a while, just from him being from Raleigh (, N.C.) I developed a great relationship with him last year. And it’s really good to be back here. And even though he’s on a roller or whatever that thing is, just to be able to have him coach me again. It doesn’t really feel like I lost a step. It doesn’t even feel like I wasn’t here. It feels like I took a little break and came back. Like I said, I’m very happy about that.
On watching the team’s injuries:
I mean, guys on other teams would just talk about how unfortunate it was. It seemed like every other game, somebody was getting hurt. And, it was very unfortunate for this team, with such high expectations and the talent level that they had, for so many important pieces of the puzzle to get hurt. But I think it speaks to the character of the guys of this team to be able to play the way they’ve been playing, even with so many guys hurt.