It’s not personal it’s business. Getting traded is just a part of the glamorous world of professional sports. But four times over a course of two months? Welcome to Quentin Richardson’s offseason. In a span of seven weeks, the 29-year-old forward was traded from New York to Memphis, Memphis to the L.A. Clippers, L.A. to Minnesota and finally Minnesota to the Miami Heat. Just days before Heat training camp, we caught up with Q-Rich to talk about his crazy summer, his days with the Knicks and his fresh start in South Florida.
Dime: It was a crazy summer for you as far as you getting traded four times. Was it tough on you?
Quentin Richardson: Not really. To be honest with you man I was really lighthearted about everything because in the grand scheme of things I knew the whole time I was okay. Regardless of what was going on. With the way the economy is, I don’t really have any of those problems. If me not knowing what team I’m going to is my biggest problem, that’s nothing. A lot of people worldwide are a lot worse off.
Dime:When you see friends or family around you that aren’t in the NBA, does that help put things in perspective?
QR: Oh definitely. One of my best friends Cordell Henry, he played ball at Marquette, and now he’s bouncing around all over the place overseas. Right now he’s sitting at home waiting on the call. He’s got no clue what he’s going to get. It will be hard for me to sit around and pout and look crazy when at the end of my day, my contract is guaranteed. Things like that kept me grounded. I’m very aware of what’s going on with the economy and I know above all things I’m blessed to be in this situation. Being able to be in the NBA playing and being able to make this kind of living, I’m very blessed.
Dime: You obviously have a positive attitude about being traded, but a lot of people don’t realize it’s not as easy as trading players on NBA Live, you guys have mortgages and families you have to move. Can you describe what the trading process for an NBA player is really like?
QR:(laughs) Like you said it’s not like the video game. You have to go through the process where you have to go to a new city and find a place to stay and do all those things. Hopefully you’re smart enough to get a trade clause in your contract because you know we can be traded any time. So you should always have a trade clause and an opt-out clause in my deal so I don’t have to pay that money or the full amount of money if I’m going to get traded to another team or leaving. Me personally, I don’t have kids or like a wife, so I don’t have to pick up and move the whole family. But I’ve seen those situations and those are the worst parts when you have kids and a family. You have to find schools and all those different things for them. I think I’m pretty blessed I haven’t had to go through that much. And also not getting traded during the season, so I’ve been blessed. It’s always happened to me in the offseason so I’ve had ample time to do whatever I need to do as far as finding a place and getting settled.
Dime: With only one year left on your contract, do you hold off on buying your dream house in Miami?
QR: For me my dream house will always be in Chicago. I’m a Chicago boy. When I’m through, that’s where I’m going to go back to. The only place in the league where I bought the house was in Phoenix. Once I got traded I was able to sell that and get that off the off my hands pretty quickly. Other than that I’ve been renting the whole time. I never bought anything. I was renting a place in New York, so I just got my furniture shipped out here so I’m just making do with that for the year.
Dime: So getting traded so much in one summer isn’t as bad as people are making it out to be?
QR: I mean, no way to get around it, it was a crazy summer just being moved around that much – that was kind of crazy. I think those GMs talking to me and communicating and telling me what was what and not just boom it happened and boom it’s done. I have great respect on how everybody dealt with it. Everybody knows in the NBA, if they want you here or they want you there than just boom – nothing has to be communicated with anything. But they did do those things and do those steps so I appreciate it.
Dime: How much did all the losing in New York take a toll on you personally?
QR: That was the biggest challenge with me. When I started off in LA, of course we weren’t winning, but we were getting better. Then doing as well as we did in Phoenix. It was really tough. The most difficult part for me was just not winning. We were getting crushed and we were the punchline of a lot of jokes. That’s not fun. But at the same, I time I just tried to stay as professional as possible and keep showing up to work every day go play hard and do whatever you can to turn the situation around.
Dime: Is your ferocious competitiveness the reason behind your personal rivalry with Paul Pierce?
QR: It has everything to do with my competitive nature. He knows where it comes from, I’ll say that. He knows where I guess you could say the tension comes from. That’s basically the stance I take every play I play. He knows where the root of it is. It came from a long time ago when we were in L.A. and pickup ball over the summer, stuff like that. That’s just what it is…competitiveness.
Dime: Is the game still fun for you? Or is it more of a job now?
QR: Oh, it’s always fun for me. I don’t think I would be able to play anymore once it becomes a job or a business to me. The game of basketball always is fun for me. When I’m out there playing I don’t think about this or that. This is a game that I think as long as my body allows me, I’ll be sitting there playing. I think all the time about how blessed I am because even if I wasn’t getting paid this much money, I know I would still do it. I look at my friends and they have regular jobs and still find time to go to the gym and try to play. I look at it as I’m so lucky.
Dime: How happy are you to be with Miami?
QR: Oh man ecstatic, literally. It’s a fresh start. I’m around some guys I’m already very familiar with. We got one of the best players in the league in Dwyane Wade. Everything I’ve seen within the organization from Pat Riley on down so far I’ve liked. The way they work and the way they try to develop guys and try get them better, that alone is just fresh and that’s something I haven’t seen for a few years.
Dime: What is it like to be playing on the same team as Dwyane Wade, one of your best friends and workout partners from Chicago?
QR: It’s hilarious. He was at my house this weekend watching the fight and we were just there cracking up because at there’s always some time in September where we do something together for the last time then he’s going where he’s going or I’m leaving. Now it’s hilarious because it’s like, ‘yeah I’ll see you tomorrow.’ I don’t think it’s hit us yet, but it’s starting to.
Dime: Who is the best player from Chicago who’s not in the NBA but should be?
QR: I would say Paul McPherson. He had a cup of coffee, but I think if he had another chance that he probably would make some different decisions that he made. But definitely an unbelievable talent and you ask anybody in Chicago, everybody knows who he is.
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