Throughout October, SiriusXM NBA Radio is broadcasting live on location from a dozen NBA preseason camps around the country. On the schedule: The Spurs, Celtics, Nets, Hornets, Cavaliers, Warriors, Rockets, Clippers, Thunder, Suns, Trail Blazers and Raptors. See below and check back frequently at siriusxm.com/nbacamptour for highlights from the trip, and visit siriusxm.com/nba for the full Camp Tour schedule.
AUDIO CLIPS FROM THE TOUR
PHOTOS FROM THE TOUR
QUOTES FROM EACH CAMP SITE
San Antonio Spurs | Boston Celtics | Brooklyn Nets | Houston Rockets | Toronto Raptors | Portland Trail Blazers | Golden State Warriors | Los Angeles Clippers | Phoenix Suns | Charlotte Hornets | Cleveland Cavaliers | Oklahoma City Thunder
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
When he decided to come back:
Honestly it snuck up on me. I kinda got a call from my agent two or three days before the deadline, it was like, “You gotta choose by Tuesday.” I was like, “Oh, all right, well, I guess, yeah let’s go,” because I felt good at that point and I had a couple weeks off and away from the whole thing.
Where the 2014 championship fits among his titles:
I think I enjoyed that one more than any other.
General manager R.C. Buford
What San Antonio needs to do to repeat:
I think we gotta be healthy, that’s a first. I know our guys are gonna come compete. There’s a lot of very good teams, and you have to be playing well during the playoffs, and you have to be healthy, then we’ll take our shot and see what happens.
Did he think Duncan would return?
We know there will be a time and a day when Tim says, “I’m done.” We’re glad it wasn’t now. He’s playing at such a level that I think he feels good and feels competitive, and he’s not gonna put himself in a position where he’s not gonna play well. … He wants to play, and I hope he continues for a long time.
Head coach Brad Stevens
Why did Boston draft Marcus Smart?
He’s a leader, he’s tough. He’s a guy that’s interesting, because he probably didn’t play the point much until he got to college. He’s so big and strong, you can play him anywhere in a high school game. Shoot, you can play him most positions in a college game. But he’s a guy that has figured out how to maximize his strengths with the ball. He still has some growth to do on both sides of the ball. But he’s probably as good of a defender at age 20 as I’ve seen.
Is Rajon Rondo difficult to coach?
I’ve enjoyed coaching him. And I think the situation we had last year could’ve been the most uneasy if you really look at it. He’s a guy that is adjusting to a new staff, a brand new team with two Hall of Famers gone, and he doesn’t get any practice time, and has to start playing in the middle of January with minutes limitations. So there’s all these things going against us, and then I thought he was easy to coach. I thought he got back and got feeling good at the end of the season, he started looking like himself. And then, this summer, he’s been around most of the summer.
President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge
When will Rondo be back on the court?
We’ll be careful with Rajon. You know he’s always wanting to come back early. We knew that was going to happen, he’s going to probably want to come back in another week or two and put a pad over his broken finger. But we’ll be cautious with him. Whether he gets back at the regular season, I don’t know the answer to that.
What is Rondo’s future with the Celtics?
Rondo wants to be in Boston. He loves it here. We want to keep Rondo. We think he’s a terrific player. Guys like him are really hard to find, of his physical skills and mental makeup and his experience. He’s still in the prime of his career. But he’s a free agent this summer so there’s uncertainty from our stand point. We have to be a place he wants to continue to play for on July 1st of next year, and he has to be the player that we want to pay a lot of money too. … We can’t do an extension. We’ve discussed extensions for two years with Rajon, but with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, it makes no sense for him financially. It’s just such a big detriment to sign an extension the way the rules are set up.
Head coach Lionel Hollins
What is it like coaching Kevin Garnett?
He [was] one of the few guys I’ve never talked to. And to be here and talk to him, he is very enthusiastic, he is very vocal, he gets the guys in the drills, he doesn’t let anybody take any time off. When we’re running, he gets after guys, he makes guys know what they’re supposed to do. He holds everybody accountable.
What are some of the surprises on the team?
Their basketball IQ is really good. They destroy our drills because they figure out how to beat whatever we’re trying to do. When we’re doing defense, you have to almost script them to go one way … When you give them something and they get it, they’ve already moved on to the options.
Will we see Jarrett Jack and Deron Williams playing together?
Oh, no question about that. We’re going to probably see that, and it may be down the stretch of games.
What does Williams think of the roster?
Definitely miss Paul, Shaun Livingston, those are two guys that were a huge part of our success last year. You know, we’ll miss them, but we got some good guys to step in and fill their place. Bojan Bogdanovic is going to be a good player for us I believe. AK being healthy helps, you talk about Jarrett Jack coming over, I think he’s a little bit like me. He had a little off year last year and he wants to kind of redeem himself.
Was there any doubt that Kevin Garnett would come back?
KG kind of goes into hibernation in the summer time, I was just kind of communicating with Billy [King], and he told me he expected KG back, and so that’s kind of what I went off. And first day coming back to the gym, from being gone in the summer, he was here. That kinda gave me the inclination that he was coming back.
Head coach Kevin McHale
What does McHale want from his role players?
As a veteran once told me when I was a young guy, “You know what, you haven’t earned the right to lose the game. If we lose the game, it’ll be on me. You just defend and rebound, young fella.”
Will McHale miss Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik?
I’m gonna miss Lin, Asik and Parsons. Honestly, last year, we had about seven guys, a lot of guys rotated. The eighth, ninth, 10th guy rotated … I had seven guys I really trusted, and they were three of them … Yeah, I’ll miss those three guys, because I enjoyed them.
What is the NBA’s best back court?
Every back court that we go against, we’re really up there with them. The things that me and Kyle do for our thing, statistically, you can put us up there with anybody.
What the Raptors need to do to get to the next level:
I think it’s gonna be a lot harder than last year, because we kind of surprised a lot of people, so to speak. Nobody knew what to expect, especially after the trade. … We were going out there playing with a chip on our shoulder every single day, and we gotta carry that over again. But it’s gotta be at a higher level now, because teams understand, we are the same team from last year. So they cannot take it easy on us. Teams are going to be gunning for us now, and we gotta understand that.
Why Lowry re-signed with the Raptors.
I’m happy to be back here. I think the situation was the best situation for me. And of course I did my research in looking around and talking with other teams, but at the end of the day, we have a great core here, and I was happy with the continuity that we had coming back. So it was an easier decision.
Head coach Dwane Casey
What does Casey expect from Lowry?
Kyle has really grown, as a young man, first of all. Carter, his son, is a sweet kid. Beautiful family. So I think that in itself has helped mature him as a person. Kyle has always been a great basketball player. He’s always had the reputation of fighting the coaches and that type of thing, last year he bought in, he was a positive leader. Her’s the same way this year, he’s a positive leader. He hasn’t let the contract change him, or whatever. So really look for him to make the next step, also, as an individual player.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Will Aldridge take more outside shots this season?
I’m definitely going to shoot more threes. Coach has been trying to get me to shoot them for the last two years. I think I’m the first player that didn’t want to shoot threes. I just wanted to wait until I was more comfortable with it, I definitely worked on it this summer, and I feel I’m more comfortable with it.
Head coach Terry Stotts
Where do the Blazers need to continue to improve this season?
The next step for us is to be better defensively. We made good strides last year, we went from 25th to 16th, and that was our goal, to be in the top half … For us to make the next jump, [we need] to be a top 10 defensive team, and maintain our offense.
His feelings after getting cut from Team USA.
I was really disappointed, honestly, because I really felt like I belonged on the team. I felt like I did what I needed to do to be apart of it. … I got cut, and, to me, they said, you know, “You’re a good player, you’re a star in the NBA, you really love your game, and you’re a professional, you were the first on the bus,” and they gave me all of that. But the only thing in my head was, “You’re not good enough.” I would’ve rather they just said, “You’re not good enough,” because that’s what I made up in my head that they told me anyway when I left there. And right when I left there is when I changed my diet, and when I got a little bit more serious. At first, it was, you know, I’m on Team USA, I’ll be in shape by the time training camp comes back around. And when they cut me, I had nothing else to do. So they kinda just helped me throw wood on the fire.
GM Neil Oshey
Where has Lillard improved this offseason?
He’s added the ability to shoot more mid-range jumpers. He’s not going to be as stubborn trying to get to the rim and playing in traffic. He’s a very good finisher there, but he’s developed a floater game which is huge now with everybody loading their bigs to the rim, playing over the top. But his biggest commitment is on the defensive end, and I saw that, I was at the USA basketball practices.
What’s the next step for Aldridge?
LaMarcus is an interesting guy. He basically does his own work in the offseason, he doesn’t play a lot of pickup with other people, he doesn’t like to expose what he’s working on. But he’s extended his range. He hit some big threes in the Houston series. I don’t think we’re going to turn him into a stretch four where he’s gonna live and die out there, but I think the fact that he can step out now, especially corner threes, and comfortably make those shots, is gonna add an element where we can really open the floor up even more.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Head coach Steve Kerr
On his first NBA training camp as head coach:
Just finding my stride in terms of every day, when to pipe in, when to sit back. Sometimes you want your players to figure things out on your own, and then all the sudden, things get out of hand and you gotta step in and get on them a little bit. It’s just that feeling that you have to have as a coach, and it’s gonna take some time, because we’re all just getting to know each other. But I feel really good now compared to three days in. I think our practices are more streamlined and efficient.
One thing he did with a player on his current roster before training camp:
Played golf with Steph Curry, which was fun. Humbling; he’s an unbelievable golfer.
General manager Bob Myers
Fan of the 44-minute game proposal?
I don’t know, you know, that’s a hard one. I had heard it was mentioned a while ago, I didn’t know it was actually going to happen this quickly in the preseason. I’m a traditionalist, kind of. But I’m not playing now, and I don’t know what the motivation is behind it, or the coaches that are supporting it. But I just think, as a GM, I got enough players wanting to play more minutes. I don’t want the minutes to go down.
On the search for a backup point guard:
That was an area where we struggled last year. We tried to fill it a couple different ways. We tried in free agency, were unsuccessful, we had a couple of trades during the year, ended up with Steve Blake, who did a nice job for us. But we felt like, [we needed] a backup point guard; that’s why we went out and targeted Shaun Livingston.
What’s the next step for the team?
We look around and, since I’ve been in the league, you see teams that when I first came in, were on the cusp. You know, OKC, the Clippers, making a couple changes here and there, and they found a way to get to that next level by just sticking to the process. Like you said, we have the same group of guys that have gone through some good experiences together, had some playoff success and tasted what it’s like to be in that environment. And now, what it takes to get over the hump, by just being as consistent as possible, you know, especially when you get into those grinding seven-game series. So we gotta rely on that experience this year as we push forward, and we have realistic expectations of winning the West.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Head coach Doc Rivers
Should the NBA shorten the length of the season?
I played 82. I can go with that route, “the old school, that’s how we used to do it.” I think it would be healthy. I think it would be a better brand of basketball, just from the rest stand point. Either that, or we just have to figure out a different way of scheduling. Which, with all of the arenas, that’s very hard to do. We need to eliminate the four-in-fives, you know, the four games in five days, the back-to-backs, but the four-in-fives are killer.
On shooting jumpers vs. playing in the post:
I’m trying to find a good medium, and a good ratio of both to incorporate into the game, because I don’t want to get away from what’s gotten me here.
What is “unique” about the approach the Clippers are taking to the season?
If you look around the league, most of the times, teams that play fast aren’t very defense-oriented, and vice versa. So we’re trying to be a unique team in that we want to defend, that’s our top priority, but we also want to play, not necessarily fast, but at a really nice pace.
On his playoff critics:
It’s not about what’s fair or not, it’s the truth. And the only way that you can change that is to get past it. We’re big boys here, we’re grown men. This is not AAU basketball here, so it’s a fact.
Are you thinking about your expiring contract entering the season?
Not a lot. Everybody’s asking me, “OK, if you’re going to go out of your contract;” to be honest, I’m not thinking about that right now. I still know, I had a good last year, and I played well. If I don’t play well this year, it doesn’t matter. So I’m all focus.
Head coach Jeff Hornacek
Would you trot out Dragic, Isaiah Thomas and Eric Bledsoe at once?
If things aren’t going well out there, that’s a great lineup to go to. The other situation is, you want to have your best players on the court. And if those three guys are your best players, you gotta figure out some way to get them out there.
General manager Ryan McDonough
Are you a fan of shortening the length of NBA games?
Personally, I don’t like it. And I don’t speak on behalf of the Phoenix Suns, this is just my opinion. I think the stars and the starters would play about the same amount of minutes, and it would really hurt the bench guys. One of the things we tried to do here was build a deep team, with balance and depth. And I also, for a young guy, try to be somewhat of a historian about the game and the records. You play 82, you play 48 minutes. I think that’s what kind of makes the NBA unique. As Eddie knows, I think we led the league last year in comebacks from down 20 points or more. We had two or three, and obviously it would be harder to do that in a shorter game. … It doesn’t change the amount of flights, it doesn’t change the back-to-backs and all that. I think if you are going to try to lessen the burden on the players, there are other ways to do that rather than just shortening the game four minutes.
Talk about the importance of bringing Bledsoe back.
When Eric played last year we won about two-thirds of our games. When he didn’t play, we were a .500 team. So if you take winning two-thirds of your games and extrapolate that over the course of an 82-game season, that’s a team that wins in the mid-50s. And that’s where we want to be, in that elite level in the Western Conference.
Talk about the acquisition of Lance Stephenson.
It’s so good to have him. I think everyone around the city is really excited to have him as well. Growing up, playing against Lance for years now, he’s one of those guys that you’d rather have on your team than play against.
Why are there fewer New York basketball players in the NBA now?
I think a lot of things are changing. A lot of the guys that are from New York are starting to move to different cities, going to prep school, things like that. I really don’t know. It’s kind of hard to tell. We still have a few guys left, now we got two here in Charlotte, and we’re trying to keep it going.
What is Charlotte’s mindset after making the playoffs last year?
I think last year was just a little taste, a little tease, the beginning of what we can do. I think the front office, MJ, did a great job this offseason making us better. And it’s up to us now to just build off what we did last year.
How do you continue to improve your game?
In order to win, I’m watching the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers, Miami, I’m watching those guys and I see the way those guys move the ball. Especially Tim Duncan, he’s one of my favorite ones to watch, the way he uses his teammates. I asked a question one time watching the Celtics play Tim Duncan, “Why don’t they double-team him, but when they play me, they double-team me?” And I feel like Tim Duncan‘s way better than me. And the reason why is Tim Duncan plays well out of the double team. And that’s one of the things I had to learn how to do to take it to the next level.
Head coach Steve Clifford
What does Stephenson bring to the table?
His exceptionality is that he can help in all aspects. He can rebound for a guard, he’s a good defender, he can guard primary scorers, and he can score. I think what people have to understand around here is he’s still a developing player.
On the pressure of looking unbeatable from the start of the season:
It might not happen right out of the gate. There’s gonna be times where we’ll lose a game or two, or maybe three, we don’t know. We just don’t. It’s going to take a little bit of time to find out, and figure out that continuity, and just get on the floor together for more games. Seven preseason games isn’t going to do it. We know what we’re gonna be capable of; it’s gonna take a long process in order to get there, but we’re willing to put in the work, and I think that’s the biggest part.
General manager David Griffin
What kind of coach will Steve Kerr be in the NBA?
We actually would’ve loved to have talked to him here. Steve’s a guy that, when he was with the great coaches he’s been with, he’s always been humble enough to pay attention and learn. Steve knew he wasn’t the reason teams were good. And he was paying attention to the coaches and what they were doing that made them good. And I think he’s really going to be the type of human that translates all of that experience really well.
On hearing the news of Steve Nash‘s back injury:
I believe I have my job because of Steve Nash. Steve made everybody better, he’s the kind of player you can build around and know that he’s going to get the most out of every piece on the court. He got the most out of himself, so I really believe if there’s any hope at all, he’ll find a way to play again.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Who needs to step back in the absence of Kevin Durant?
I think Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Morrow and Reggie Jackson, I think those are the key guys that can really help us out and give us a lift. Those guys put a lot of work in and obviously they show they can play at the highest level any night. So I think those guys, it’s going to be there time to shine.
Why are Westbrook and Durant so comfortable yelling at each other during games?
We’re like brothers. We’ve been together since Day 1. We talk about different things on and off the floor, we don’t just talk about basketball, we talk about real-life stuff and it makes us closer. So throughout games if he sees something I’m not doing right, he yells at me, I take it on the chin and continue to go. I think it’s important to have that chemistry on a team.
Is this year championship or bust for OKC?
That’s our goal. That’s our goal the last three years man, no matter what. This is how we think, this is why we work hard. Everybody in the summer spent time working hard.
Head coach Scott Brooks
How will the Thunder get past Durant’s injury?
We’re going to miss Kevin’s scoring, we’re going to miss his leadership, we’re going to miss his playmaking and his defense. We have to do it together as a team. It’s not one guy’s responsibility, it’s our whole team is going to have to step up and be a better team when he comes back. That’s what I told the guys early on. We’re not a better team without him, but when he comes back, we have to be a better team.
How will the offense change without Durant?
We’re going to have to change a little bit. There’s no question. We’re losing a guy that can drop 30 on any given night, and sometimes he can do that at a half, and we understand that. He’s an amazing player, an amazing teammate, but we have to understand that we can’t waste any possessions. We have to be locked in with one another on both ends of the floor.
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