Richardson Press Conference Transcript
Quinten Richardson was introduced as the newest member of the Phoenix Suns at a Friday morning press conference in the Dick Van Arsdale conference room at America West Arena. The following is the complete transcript, including remarks from General Manager Bryan Colangelo, Head Coach Mike D'Antoni and the Suns' new swingman.
Suns President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo: I’d like to thank everyone for coming today, and also the Suns fans who are tuned in live on Suns.com on the live webcast of the press conference. It’s another very exciting day for the Phoenix Suns organization. This is the culmination or conclusion of a very hectic time. A frustrating, an agonizing… I think I’m describing it properly, process. A new process for this organization. We have never really been through a restricted free agency scenario where you sign an offer sheet and ultimately you either end up with the player or not end up with the player. In this case, I like to think we ended up with the ultimate prize. Very ecstatic for what this does for our basketball team. It’s a tremendous core of talent. We’ve talked about how deep and how young and talented our core is. I can tell you it just got deeper, just got a little bit younger and a lot better. So, with that I’d like to introduce the newest Phoenix Sun, Quentin Richardson.
Suns Guard Quentin Richardson: I just want to extend my gratitude to Bryan and Coach D’Antoni and everybody out there who was pulling for me to be a Sun. It was a long and hard process with ups and downs throughout. BC came through. Everything the Clippers through at him, he had answers for them. We got it down at the end of the day.
Suns Head Coach Mike D’Antoni: It’s a great deal. He’ll bring a lot of excitement to the fans and really help start the family and the good thing is Brandy, he brings you. Because you’re in this, too (laughs). It’s a good deal for us. He’s going to add a lot of juice to the team. Again, we’re younger and got a lot deeper. It should be exciting. We really don’t have that big a hole to fill anyway. We’ve got guys who can play, so we should be pretty good.
Colangelo: Mike’s anticipation of the potential success this season, obviously we have more expectations as we go here, but I saw a number on the board prior to this coming through, and I think that number is going to pick up a little bit more in terms of the number of wins we anticipate. Today, this is about Quentin Richardson, the success in his life right now… congratulations to you and Brandy also. Welcome, both of you, to the Suns family. I’d like to open it up to questions.
Question: What kind of week has it been for you?
Richardson: I had a great day Tuesday. I got engaged to my fiancée and then yesterday I got the news that I’d be coming here. It really hasn’t hit me yet, but I’m really happy right now.
Question: How tough was that period of waiting?
Richardson: It was kind of crazy. Going through the process, we knew that was what it was going to be about. We knew the Clippers would wait until the last day and ultimately it was going to be up to them whether I would be able to come here or not. It was something we had to deal with. Like I said, BC did everything he could do to get me, and here I am.
Question: Why did you want to be here so bad?
Richardson: It was a situation that BC just talked about. All the players here, I was just as excited to be here as they wanted me here. I took my physicals with Steve Nash, and he really wanted me to be a part of the team and he wanted to play with me. When you have guys who are that good of players that want to play with you, you’ve got to want to play with them, too.
Question: Talk about Amaré.
Richardson: I’ve talked to Amaré. I’ve known Shawn a long time. We were playing every summer and I’ve known him for a few years now. I’m just excited to be a part of it.
Question: How is the West shaping up?
Richardson: They got the big beast out of L.A., so I think it’s wide open. Getting him out of L.A. makes things a lot easier. I got tired of running into him in the middle.
Question: Bryan, can you talk about the frustration of the last few weeks, not knowing what was going to happen?
Colangelo: I can tell you when Mike Dunleavy and the rest of the Clippers organization would argue that they would match if they didn’t have an alternative deal, I believed them. Mr. Sterling was committed to giving Mike new power and authority. It became clear they were exploring options other than signing a long-term commitment to Q. That was hope we had out there in the future and it rang true. They found another alternative. They thought it was the right move for their organization. I think they’ll be a player in free agency next year. It was probably a wise move, and fortunately for us, it was the right thing for the Phoenix Suns organization. There was talk of us not going after a five in free agency, but we said we don’t want to overpay a guy who’s not going to play at the end of the game. We didn’t want to get into a situation where, three or four years from now, we’re looking at a contract we don’t like. I can assure you we’re going to like this contract.
Question: Talk about the depth of the team now.
Richardson's new fiancee, Brandy, attended the press conference and showed off her 11-and-a-half carat engagement ring.|
D’Antoni: I agree (laughter). The thing is I think you can’t get hung up on who’s going to play where and how much. It’s easy to be a good player on a bad team. We were bad last year and had some good players, but that doesn’t mean anything. Now, we have a good team and it’s going to be up these guys to blend their games a little bit, to give up a little bit, but ultimately be comfortable with their role on a winning team. If we don’t get anybody, and we have all bad players and one or two good guys, it’s easy. It isn’t easy to win and to get where we’re going, but these guys have the drive, they have the work ethic, they have the talent, so there’s no reason that we can’t be a force immediately, starting next year.
We don’t have a great center. I don’t want to talk down on anybody, but when Michael Jordan won all his titles, Luc Longley, didn’t he play here? I don’t know how good he was and it can be the same way. That’s not saying that Jake Voskuhl and different guys at the five can’t get it done. They can get it done. So, it just depends on how good these guys get, how good Amaré, Shawn, Joe, Quinten, Steve Nash are. If they’re better than the other four or five guys that play in their roles, then we’re going to be pretty good. If they don’t, if they don’t just get it together, then obviously there’s going to be problems and that’s when I get fired (laughter).
Question: Bryan, does the depth at 2-3 give you some ammunition to go after a center and is (Eric) Dampier one of those guys you’re going after?
Colangelo: You have to keep in mind we also have a couple of contracts that need to play themselves out over the course of the next couple of years. We’ve got an opportunity to possibly negotiate a contract with Joe this summer. Amaré would be next summer. We’ve got things that need to work themselves out, but between now and then there’s a full season, and I think we just take it a day at a time. Right now, I can tell you we’re back on the phones and we’re trying to find someone to fill the needs that we have on this team. We’ll keep those needs to ourselves. And we’ll try to address anything possible to make this team better. I think you know that Jerry is committed to putting a winning product out there. I think it’s probably very evident that Mr. Sarver is very committed to doing the same. Everything you see here, in terms of what we’ve put together from we were at the start of last season to where we are now, is night and day, and it feels a heck of a lot better than where we were. I can argue that we got a lot better basketball-wise with those moves. This is a great young man. I know that Robert Sarver met him in Newport Beach (Calif.) just prior to signing the offer sheet. He felt like he needed to sit down with someone face-to-face before he committed that kind of money to him. He came out of that meeting saying, “I don’t think we’re going to get him.” I said, “Why not?” and he said, “Because that’s an unbelievable young man.” He’s got a great smile, he’s got charisma and I don’t see how they’ll let him go. But, it is today, he’s here, he’s a Phoenix Sun and we’re very happy about that.
Question: What did the Suns do to impress you that you made such a decision so quickly?
Richardson: I liked the situation. They came after me aggressively. They took a great deal of belief in me, knowing I (was) a restricted free agent and knowing we were dealing with the Clippers, who are notorious for holding out until the last day and holding up the whole free agency (process). That kind of brought the whole free agency to a close. That was something that I looked at and took serious consideration into, also, knowing that they believed in my abilities that they were going to be willing to close up the rest of their free agency.
Question: Mike, with the additions of Steve Nash and Quinten, how much better do expect the team to be this season?
D’Antoni: We just got better in all phases. We went into the free agency wanting leadership, and we got that with two guys and especially with Steve Nash who is a point guard. We wanted people with (strong) work ethics and we got two of the best. Young talent, we got one of the best. We got old talent and we got young talent. Steve’s not that old. So, I think we addressed our needs. We need to get a little bit bigger and little bit tougher inside. But a lot of these guys, as soon as you get the contracts in front of them, you ask how you can get rid of them. We didn’t want to do that. It would have been easy to do just by panicking and getting it done because everybody says we need a center. I think what we have is good enough and I think what we have on the perimeter is really good. So, I’d rather go that way and take my chances of going into battle with these guys.
Question: Has the need for a center diminished because Shaq has moved out of the West now?
D’Antoni: I think you have to put it in perspective. Do we want to win the championship next season? Sure we do. Is it going to happen next year or is it going to happen two or three years down the road when these guys get a little bit more mature? Probably. So, we have time to address that need.
Shaq is a force, but if you go battle Shaq and you’re still second best there, that’s not going to help you. He’s going to destroy whoever is in the center, so we’re going to put all our money into a guy who’s going to get destroyed anyway? That doesn’t seem right. We like the guys that we have to battle him. Now, we want to destroy them elsewhere and we have guys who should be able to make it up on the perimeter. We also have back to the basket guys. One of the things you talk about with bigs is having them be able to go to the low post with their back to the basket. With Q and Amaré, we have two of the best back to the basket guys, so we have that. The only thing we don’t have is somebody with a little bulk who does not get killed on the big guys. I think Jake Voskuhl, (Maciej) Lampe, (Jackson) Vroman and a veteran big guy who we’ll sign, will be able to do that. Again, it depends on these guys and how they play together, how good Steve can distribute the basketball, and also having a little bit of patience. We have only one ball and we have a lot of guys that are going to need it, and it’s going to take some time to get that chemistry. If they’re motivated and winning, we have the talent to win. We’ve just all got to get it on the same page.
Question: Quentin, what will it be like to play with Amaré Stoudemire and how do you evaluate his game?
Richardson: That’s the “Hellboy.” He’s nasty. He had probably the best dunk of his career against (Michael) Olowokandi in our gym, so everybody knows about that one. It was crazy. He’s been like that since I saw him a couple of years ago when I saw him as a junior in high school at the Jordan camp. He came out there and he was just nasty, dunking on people. You could tell he was a raw talent and just been getting better. We were upstairs just now watching him make jump shots on film, so he’s developing. Once he starts getting that much better and continues to grow, I don’t think he ever wants to lose the nastiness. I just get excited about playing with people like that because I’m a high-energy guy and so is he. I think I draw off that.
Question: Quentin, how did your head popping move come about?
Richardson: Me and my old boy, D. (Darius) Miles, started doing it when we first got in the league and we haven’t stopped yet. As long as I keep scoring points, I’m going to keep doing it.
Question: Do you think you still have a lot of upside to your game that’s still to come?
Richardson: Tremendous. Everywhere. I think the biggest thing I came away with when I talked with Jordan, he told me that he was the best player in the world and felt that every year he could get better at something. Everything. I definitely feel like I can get better at everything that I do, even the things I do well.
Question: How has your relationship with Jordan helped you as you’ve developed as a player?
Richardson: For me, that was a great deal. Not only growing up in Chicago, but I think anybody growing up anywhere would love to have a relationship with Mike, being able to be endorsed by his brand. Just being able to call him up on the phone and talk to him about things, basketball or personal, that’s just a great situation.
Question: What’s the best thing to happen to you this week?
Richardson: Me getting engaged. (applause)
D’Antoni: You can tell he’s a smart player.
Colangelo: Thank you coming and thank you for tuning on Suns.com.