Q&A: Jameer Nelson

Posted by Unknown on Sunday, August 03, 2014 with No comments
Courtesy of Josh Robbins 

Orlando Sentinel: What was the free-agency process like?

Jameer Nelson: It was weird. It was a little different. It’s one of the things I’ve never been through, obviously, and it was interesting to see the interest that I got and the teams calling and all that. But I feel like I went where I was wanted the most and where I wanted to go.
OS: Why join the Mavericks?
Nelson: I just think with the makeup of the team and the organization it’s similar to what we had in Orlando when we were winning. And I wanted to get back to that. I’ve dealt with the process of rebuilding, and it’s tough. I want to win. I don’t want to sit back and develop anymore. I tried that for two years. It was fun and it was tough. It was challenging. It was more challenging than people know. I was up for the challenge. It was something that I was up for. Nobody forced me to do it. It was something I wanted to do.
OS: Let’s talk about Dallas for a second. How many of the guys on the Dallas roster do you know well?
Nelson: I don’t know too many of them. It’s a totally new situation for me and my family. I was definitely hoping that with Shawn [Marion] that his situation got resolved and he could be on the team, because me and him are good friends and my family knows his family. That would’ve made things and the transition a little easier. But my kids are young, and me and my wife were willing obviously to take on a challenge learning a new place and a new organization.
OS: What have you thought about Dirk Nowitzki from afar?
Nelson: He’s a helluva player. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I feel like he’s arguably one of the best — if not the best — power forwards in my era. Dirk is just a phenomenal talent, and you can see that he’s a phenomenal teammate just from afar.
OS: You’re going to a team with a lot of weapons offensively. How do you think that will help you in finding open shots and in terms of being able to create?
Nelson: We’re a new team in terms of just the personnel. There’s a lot of new guys. One thing is we’re going to have to find a way to jell. I think we have to take it one day at a time. I’m going to continue to play the way I play. I can’t change the way I play and I doubt they want me to [change]. They want me to be who I am, and that’s all I know.
OS: Is it true that Dwight Howard tried to recruit you to the Houston Rockets?
Nelson: [Laughs] You know what, man? I’m with Dallas. I’ll just talk about Dallas. [Laughs]
OS: What are your impressions of Dallas as a place to live?
Nelson: I haven’t seen much of it just in terms of living and anything like that. But from what I’m hearing, everything I hear about is great. It’s probably a little bit of a change for the winter for us. I think it gets a little colder, a little cooler than Orlando. I don’t think my blood has thinned out that much; I think I still have a little bit of northern blood in me to deal with it. But when we were there — and I know it was like the beginning stage of a marriage and a honeymoon — everybody was really friendly, nice, outgoing. And that’s all I hear about the organization. I hear they’re top of the line, and Mark Cuban wants to win. I want to win.
OS: You mentioned that the Magic’s rebuilding was tough. What was the toughest part about it?
Nelson: Losing. Like I said, I want to win. I was hoping things got better the second year — a little better — and it didn’t, unfortunately. But it is what is. The Magic are going to have a lot of young talent that’s going to take a lot of time, or take some time, to develop. I just felt like I didn’t have enough time left in my career to sit there and wait for the development stages to process.
OS: You’ve said in the past that you think you can play until you’re 40.
Nelson: I’m not going to limit myself, for sure. But I do feel like I can still play at a high level for a good amount of years. I’m not going to put a number on it, either. But as long as I can continue to work out the way I’m working out and prepare for a season, I feel like I can be on somebody’s roster helping out in a significant way.
OS: What you’re saying sounds similar to what Arron Afflalo said the day he was traded. He’s younger than you, but he was saying that the Magic’s plan for when, and if, they get really good doesn’t really coincide with his timetable. In other words, you want to contend now, right?
Nelson: Yeah. Like I said, I’ve dealt with the development stages and the process of rebuilding and all that stuff. It was fun. It was a challenge. But it was something that I needed to get out of. I’m not like an old, ancient man or anything like that. But, at the same time, I want to win. That’s just point blank. I don’t want to sit around and go into a game and feel like we have a slim chance of winning. I want to go into a game prepared and feel like I have a chance to win the game.
OS: Even though the Magic struggled badly the last two years, you posted the two best assist-per-game numbers of your career. Does that encourage you?
Nelson: We had some talent. We had some talented guys and we had some smart guys. So we all figured out together what we needed to do to at least be competitive. And that’s what we were. We were a very, very competitive team, no matter if we were up by 30 or down by 30. I learned guys’ sweet spots, and guys learned where I like to pass the ball from and like to make plays from. That allowed guys to create offense and generate things. . . . The thing I’ve been really trying to work on is my shooting. I’m a good shooter. I have a lot of confidence in my shooting. I’ll take the big shot; I’m not scared to [take the big shot] on the big stage. I just feel like at times I had to take certain shots that I wouldn’t have to take on a team that was winning and a team that had a couple more veterans on there.
OS: What kind of reaction did you receive from Magic fans in the days after the team released you?
Nelson: It was nothing but positives, and people understood what was going on. The team took some flak for letting me go. But you know what? At the end of the day, it was time. If it wasn’t time, I would’ve said that. It was time for me to go. I thought the process through and sat down and just figured I had to move on. It was time for me to move on.
OS: The Mavericks will play the Magic in the preseason in Orlando and again during the regular season. What do you think that will be like?
Nelson: It’ll be weird coming into the arena differently as an opposing player. Hopefully, I’ll stay into my routine and won’t get out of my routine that I’m in during gameday, because I do have a lot of friends in Orlando and in the arena, just people that I’ve admired throughout my career and supported me. So I’ll definitely show love, and hopefully I can stay within my gameday schedule.