RYAN GOMES Q & A
Newly signed Clipper Ryan Gomes sat down with Clippers.com for an interview following his arrival in Los Angeles.
How does it feel to be an LA Clipper?
Feels good to be on a team with good up-and-coming young players. Players such as Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin – hasn’t got a shot to play yet but he will be playing this season – we’ve got leaders in Baron Davis and Chris Kaman. With the additions of [Eric] Bledsoe and Al-Farouq [Aminu] this should be an interesting season for us coming up. I am glad to have the opportunity to be a part of this franchise and a team that seems to have the foundation already set. Just adding little pieces here and there to help them get better. With the likes of Randy Foye, also, who they signed. I think it should be an exciting year coming for the LA Clippers.
How well do you know the current players on the Clippers?
I know Baron Davis. I have talked to him a few times and he has helped me raise money for my Foundation. Other than on the court saying “What’s up”, seeing guys throughout the summertime working out in Las Vegas.
What is your Foundation?
Hoops for Heart Hope. I raise money to put automated external defibrillators in recreation centers, schools, any places of fitness activity to try to stop sudden cardiac arrest.
You were a late second round draft pick in 2005 (50th overall selection). Is there any advice you can give to some of the players on this year’s summer league team who are now in a similar position you were in ’05?
The main thing with me was to have confidence. I didn’t have a contract going into summer league. It was one of those things where you have to go in there and try and prove yourself. Don’t let the stats affect how hard you play and the assets you can bring to a team. We all came from college or a former place where you might have been the best player on the team, you might have had to do a lot. At this level, people are put in places for particular roles that you have to do. And whatever is asked upon you to do that week, besides playing hard, everything else should fall into place.
I just went out there with the mind set “I want to be the hardest working player” and I continued to get better and work on my skills after that and I was able to still be here today and playing into my sixth year in the league.
You have been involved in a few transactions this offseason. Does that affect your mentality going into this season?
It is the way of the business. Leaving Minnesota was due to salary-cap reasons and they wanted to have money left to sign other guys so I knew that. Then traded to Portland knowing that most likely they weren’t going to keep me either. I was then an unrestricted free agent where I could go ahead and have teams call that have interest in me that did not have ties or any problems with the salary cap. The Clippers were one of the teams that called me and had very high interest and made an offer and gave me the security and stability for the next few years when this team turns the corner.
Hopefully we will be there at the end and playing for a championship. Hopefully everyone is healthy. That is the main key. I think teams that win are with players that can stay healthy throughout season. With our roster that is going to be a thing where hopefully everyone can stay healthy. We have guys who have all-star ability on this team that can help us achieve what we want to achieve and hopefully we can win a championship.
Does it mean anything to you to be one of the Clippers’ first free-agent signings this off-season in an off-season where the free agent class is one of the best in league history?
That means a lot. When I talk to people, you want to feel wanted. I was glad that I was wanted in the trade back in Boston*. Not to say I was the main guy in the trade but maybe if I don’t go to Minnesota the trade might not go down. I don’t know. It feels good to be wanted. In this case, I was wanted. Even though I was an unrestricted free agent, they wanted me to sign here and that feels good. It is not due to character. It is not due to the way I play on the court. It is due to what type of person and player I am and it is not due to bad things. That is a positive so I am happy that they give me this opportunity as one of their selections in free agency.
What does it mean to be playing again with Randy Foye?
I am friends with Randy. I played against him all through college and I played with him when I got to Minnesota. It will be good to be reunited with someone that I know on a personal level. I am going to be here for the next three years so I will get to know these other guys on a personal level also. But to come in with somebody who I already know and I talk to frequently, it is a plus. And he is going to be a key addition to this team, too. He is a one-two, scoring guard or point guard, whatever way you want to put it, tough-nosed defensively. I think we have the pieces in place to go ahead and be successful. I think they are still going to have moves to make and some opportunities to get some other guys in here, too. The whole roster is probably going to be different. Looking at it now, they only have five players [under contract] from last year’s roster so we are trying to move in the right direction. The foundation is already here. It’s about adding little pieces and not a huge remodel and construction.
What do you think about the Clippers Practice Facility?
This is my second time here. I was here when I was with the Timberwolves. We practiced here last April. It is wonderful. It is the best practice facility in the league. Great location. A lot of players live right close to here. Airport is close. The only thing is that the arena is a little bit far. But you practice here more than you play in the arena so I think it is a great location and practice facility.
*Gomes was traded from Boston with Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair and two future first-round draft picks to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett.