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Andre Iguodala Press Conference Transcript

Quotes from Andre Iguodala, Nuggets president Josh Kroenke and executive VP of basketball operations Masai Ujiri

Nuggets swingman Andre Iguodala answers questions during his introductory press conference at Pepsi Center.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images


Nuggets G/F Andre Iguodala met the Denver media for the first time Thursday during an introductory press conference at Pepsi Center. He was joined by Nuggets president Josh Kroenke and executive vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri.

The following is a transcript of their comments:

 

Nuggets President Josh Kroenke

“Welcome everybody. Obviously we made a trade last week. I know we have a few fans in here, so welcome to you guys as well. Hopefully you guys are as excited as we are.

"It’s been an eventful couple of weeks, I’d say. I know that Andre (Iguodala) has had a lot on his plate for the last month and a half. For him to come back and have a situation like this speaks to the professional that he is.

"We are obviously very excited to have him. We think he’s going to be a great addition to our team. He brings another veteran presence, a winning presence. I think as he has proven that in Philadelphia over the course of his career. He wants to win. He’s going to bring that mentality to our team and instill it in to a few of our younger guys and help Andre Miller out on the veteran side. It’s an exciting time. We are obviously thrilled to have him.”

Andre Iguodala

On experience with Team USA:
“It was a great experience and something that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. On the court everybody does what they normally do, but we knew that we would have to build off one another to get the most in that setting and make it a team effort. Just the way that we linked up together and communicated with each other on the bus rides and practices and late nights playing cards and all of those bonding moments. Those are the things that I’ll remember the most and those are the things that brought us together. Those are the things that you don’t see but they are valuable on the court. I’m definitely going to learn how to get the most out of the team in those areas off of the court and be a better veteran and a better leader.”

On early termination clause in contract:
“Well it’s funny because Masai (Ujiri) and I spoke about both looking forward and what he expected out of me as well as want I want to accomplish. We aren’t coming in to this thinking this is just a one year deal we are looking to the future and definitely looking ahead looking to see how we can go forward so this isn’t a quick stop for me. Knowing that this is a great organization, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from a lot of different guys: former players, current players even other trainers about the organization and this would be a great place for me to have some great years ahead of me and possibly ending my career here.”

On talk of a contracxt extension:
“We haven’t spoken about the actual deal, just that this isn’t going to be a one (year) stop. This is definitely a place that I could see myself for more than a year or two.”

On why Denver is a place he could see himself long-term:
“First of all, they have great owners. I’m not just saying that. It’s funny how he (Josh Kroenke) and I met. We met before he came in to this position. All he had was a Rolex (watch), some jeans and a white polo. He said, 'All I have is this Rolex and nothing else.' So by us meeting we had a great time with one another at a mutual friend’s wedding and we bonded. How we came to this point is so funny.

"It’s funny. I talked to Carmelo (Anthony) and a few of his friends. Carmelo actually spoke about Coach Karl before the trade. We were just in the weight room talking basketball and I asked him about what Denver was like. We were talking about all the teams (in the NBA) and I had no clue I would be here. He said I would be the perfect fit for Coach Karl. Like he and I would really gel together. It got me thinking once the trade went through and the long flight back (from the Olympics in London) looking at the team that we have and how we have the young guys that can grow and having some of my best years with Andre Miller. It’s really one of the best opportunities that I’ve had to take advantage of and I’m really looking forward to it.”

On whether he could be the “go-to guy” at the end of games:
"Definitely. That’s something that my game has picked up on in the NBA. Throughout my life, I’ve been able to do everything on the basketball court, from playing point guard in high school to playing center in high school to doing everything in college and going through different roles in Philadelphia. As a rookie, I was a defensive stopper, and then a scorer for three or four years. I have a lot of confidence, whether it’s take the big shot or making the play that gets us the shot – just being a playmaker and the ultimate team guy."

On the trade finally happening after it fell through in past years:
"I’ve been through so many rumors that pop in and pop out all the time. You kind of become immune to it. It really doesn’t faze you until it actually happens. Once it happens, you get excited. What’s next? You have a new challenge. You refocus – different coast, different division, different conference. You size yourself up with everyone else and what you have to do to help the team get to that next level. I’m really excited about it."

On establishing a leadership role with a new team?
"It starts on the court. It’s funny because I know a few of the guys from different places. I know JaVale. He was with the select team for USA Basketball. Of course, Andre Miller (from Philadelphia). I know Ty Lawson. I met Mozgov on the medal stand in London. I had good competition against Wilson and Gallo when they were with the Knicks. The NBA’s like a fraternity. You get to know all the guys. I think we all have a respect for one another. I think they respect my game as well as I respect theirs. I just want to come in and work hard and show them that way. I’ve done that throughout my whole career – leading on the court first and everything else vocally comes after that."

On hearing the trade talk while with the Olympic team in London?
"I heard about the rumors late one night and I didn’t think it would happen because I had been in so many trade rumors the last four or five years. Once it was, I had a really good conversation with rod thorn. He explained everything to me and he was very professional about it. Once that happened, your mind gets to racing. At the same time, you’ve got to stay focused with team USA and not jump the gun too early. We are human, so I was thinking about it. But I wanted to wait until (the Olympics were) over to really start thinking about it."

On his role in the transition offense with the Nuggets:
“You just run fast. It’s pretty simple, especially with a great point guard and the two point guards we have in Ty (Lawson) and Andre Miller. The pass ahead is really what gets it going, most point guards when they get it in transition the first they do is put it down, and what I have learned from Andre Miller is catches and turns and looks first and gets it ahead. I don’t know the statistics but I would assume that this team leads in throw ahead pass to scores, so that will be something that will help my game out and just flows right along with each other and I will do the same thing, getting rebounds being able to run the break and do so many different things.”

On talking to Carmelo Anthony about playing for George Karl:
“It’s just the nature of basketball sometimes; every coach and every player are going to have run-ins at different times of their careers. George Karl made him a better player and I am sure Carmelo made George a better coach. That’s just the way the game goes. He definitely had nothing but good things to say about Coach Karl. It's funny, Seattle was one of my favorite teams growing up. Of course, I was a Bulls fan, so seeing those two go up against each other in the finals was something I really enjoyed watching. I know a little about Coach Karl and his history and I think he is one of the best coaches in the game; he is real respected by a lot of his peers and the players."

On .617 free-throw shooting last year:
“I think I shot 38 (percent) from three and that was one of the best years I have had (laughs). Coach Karl and I spoke about that and that was a really good conversation we had when we first spoke probably five or six days ago we spoke two days after the trade. The first thing that he spoke about was what I needed to work on which is great because when I got on the phone with him he didn’t sugar coat anything he didn’t say you’re a great player and I love you and blah blah blah, he went straight to the things that he thought I needed to do to get the most out of myself and help the team. Free throws were one of those things, getting to the free throw line was another thing, just being aggressive that was something that I took the most out of the conversation that I think will help both of us a lot is just being upfront and trying to get the most out of both of each other.”

On finding a way to get his teammates to care about defense:
“You try to have it to where it is becoming contagious. You have that presence on the floor, especially being in the East when the scores can be in the 80s a lot more than in the West where it is in the 100s, so possessions really count, not only in the end of the games but at the beginning of the games. That’s how I got on the court originally coming into the league. Playing with Allen (Iverson), he did a lot of scoring and I just needed a way to find myself on the court and defensively that become my way it just became second nature to defend like that."

On trash talking with Team USA teammates in the Western Conference:
“Not too much trash. I am really good friends with all three of the Oklahoma City guys, so I told them I would be seeing them a little bit more and they are young guys, they talk a little trash but they have their own language. I had no clue what they were saying, but it was fun. Then Kobe (Bryant) is Kobe and he just does the nod to let you know we just pulled off something and we are trying to bring it back to L.A., but of course we play the game to win a championship, so my focus is to help our team, not only to go out there and to play at the best of our abilities but to believe that we are going to make ourselves in contention to be at the top of the West, no matter what anybody else says. We are going to go out there and play for one thing and that is a championship.

On impressions of Denver as a city:
“I had experienced Denver my rookie year during All-Star weekend and the first thing I noticed is that it was clean. Not to say that Philadelphia is dirty, but it is just really clean here. Nice people. The fans are always great when we come here and they are not really rowdy fans in terms of getting on other teams, but they are 100 percent behind their team, so it’s like the other team doesn’t exist, which is great for this organization to have a fan base like the one we have and I am really looking forward to interacting with those guys."

On schedule for the rest of the summer before training camp:
“I have trip with the NBA to China Sept. 6-11, which is kind of right in the middle of now and before training camp. I know as soon as I get back from China I will be here on the 13th and have to get used to the altitude to get ready and get going. I will probably come back now once between now and then and then from the 13th on.”

Executive vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri

On avoiding a situation like the Carmelo Anthony trade and the Dwight Howard trade:
"Before we get into stuff like this, we do our homework and our due diligence. No, we don’t want to be in that situation again and we’ve had good conversation with Rob Pelinka, Andre’s agent, and also Andre. Andre has indicated that this is somewhere he would love to play. Negotiations, it’s our job and we’ll do it and we’ll figure it out. We’ll take it a step at a time and we’re just glad to have a player of his caliber in our organization."

On a timetable for extending Iguodala's contract:
"A timetable doesn’t matter in our opinion. It will come. We’ll figure it out at some point."

On seizing the opportunity to acquire Iguodala:
"We’ve looked at different scenarios with our team and he’s somebody that we can say we’ve had interest. It’s funny. We were staying at the same hotel in London and I got a phone call from Pete (D’Alessandro). We were talking about the trade and I walk out of my room and Andre’s sitting down waiting for the elevator. I look at him and I shake (his hand). I go silent for a while. I look at him like, if you only knew what was going on. I got in the elevator and continued. We’ve poked around he’s somebody we’ve had interest in and we’re really happy. We lost a couple really good players and good people in Al (Harrington) and Arron (Afflalo). We wish them luck. Andre is good for us and we’re excited."