- Quickest way to ensure you don’t get anything original at practice? Add a ton of cameras and people who don’t normally attend present to the mix. With everyone in attendance to get info on the new players the team acquired over the weekend, there were a ton of media members at the ACC today. It was pretty crazy. Made me realize how insane it must have been during Vince Carter’s high-flying days. Made me happy we don’t have to fight for positioning in scrums every day.

- We did speak with both Peja Stojakovic and Jerryd Bayless, of course. I can’t say I spoke to Stojakovic, because here is the photo I took of his media scrum while I was not in it. Shout out to Eric Koreen for holding my recorder for me, though.

Quick thoughts on the two from only one brief interaction? Peja’s a fan of this city, a professional vet and is refreshingly aware of how blessed professional athletes are to live the lives they do. Jerryd’s very excited to be here with an opportunity to prove himself and if today is any indication of his media savvy, he may very well wind up being a go-to quotes guy.

- It’s a glorious sight to see Sonny Weems knocking down 3-pointers with ease during practice sessions this season. He’s clearly improved his range and today he was raining threes all over the ACC practice court.

Jerryd Bayless

- On the trade: “I kinda knew it was coming. I told Bryan and I told coach I can’t be more excited. This is the opportunity of a lifetime I think. Playing with these young guys and growing with them them is something I’ve wanted to do since I’ve been in the league on a team like this. It’s definitely going to be a great situation and hopefully it’s a long one.”

- Taking advantage of this situation: “The opportunities that I’ve gotten, I’ve taken advantage of. Now that the opportunity is I’m with a team that’s young and growing, I’ve been on winning teams. I can bring a little bit of the knowledge that I got from those teams and hopefully it kind of correlates and we just start doing little things, even though they’re winning right now. I don’t know if there’s too much I can do right now, but in the long run, I can help.”

- What he’ll bring to the team: “Just a point guard. I’m going to be the guy to run the team, me and Jose. Right now I’m going to be backing up Jose. Just learning and just running this team. Put these guys in their spots, give them the ball where they like and just get them to go.”

- Being on three teams in a matter of months: “I’m fine with it. I call him my uncle, but he’s not really my uncle, Frank Johnson used to be the head coach of the suns. I’ve been around this league for a long time and I understand how it works so I’m totally fine with it and I’m really excited to be here right now.”

- On sports not being a part of his family: “My dad is a forensics psychologist and my mom is a counselor and a teacher. Sports was never a big thing in my family. It’s just something that I fell in love with and I pursued it. It’s kind of weird how it turned out, but I’m here now.”

- Being more than an athlete: “It’s my love. I love playing basketball, it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do but I look at other things, as well. I’m not just a basketball player. I write a lot, too. I don’t know if anybody has read my blog, but I try to do that a lot as well. I try to do a lot more things than just basketball.”

- What Frank Johnson told him: “I talk to him everyday. He told me it’s a great opportunity. I’m growing with this young team and we have a lot of potential on this team. Before I got here, I watched this team because I’ve known DeMar for a long time and I see a lot of potential with this team. We’ve got to continue to grow and continue to get better.”

- On his relationship with Colangelo: “I’ve known Bryan since I was young. It’s kind of funny how it worked out, but everything happens for a reason. That’s what I believe.”

- How he’ll feel tomorrow night taking the court with his new teammates: “I’m really excited about it. I’ve known DeMar, so it’s going to be cool playing with him. It’s going to be a great feeling playing in Toronto, a different country.”

- Hockey: “I can’t lie, I don’t know much about hockey, but yesterday, I’m staying pretty close to here, I saw the people coming in for the game and I realized it’s a very, very big deal so I’m going to try to take it up pretty quick.”

- How he knows DeMar: “We grew up with the AAU circuit. That’s how I knew him how I was young. He was playing Southern California, I was in Arizona, so we were pretty close and in a lot of the same tournaments. I’ve known him since I was probably 13, 14 years old. We kind of came up together.”

- His relationships with Triano and Carlesimo: “I’ve known coach since the USA team and P.J. I’ve known since my draft workout when he was with Sea- Oklahoma City now.”

- What Triano told him: “Jay told me just to come out and run the team. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to get guys in their spots, get them to do what they do well, take advantage of it. We’ve got a lot of athletes on this team, so we’re going to try to get the ball out and run and hopefully this works.”

- Defensive stopper: “Definitely. That’s something that when I was in Portland that was one of the only ways that I was going to play. I had to really concentrate on the defensive end. I know I can do that. That’s something that’s always been kind of natural to me so I just want that to be one of my focuses and try to disrupt them a bit.”

- Getting out on the run with this team, after coming from a much slower-paced offence in Portland: “It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. This is where I wanted to be, with a situation like this. A young upcoming team who loves to run? A point guard can’t ask for more. DeMar, Sonny, Amir… Everybody that’s here on the wing. And we’ve got Andrea playing the big, I can pass it out to him. It’s just the opportunity of a lifetime and I can’t be more excited about it and I can’t wait to start.”

- Working on his lobs: “My lobs, yup. Definitely. I know I’ll be able to get DeMar a lot because I have a little chemistry with him. It’s going to work out and it’s going to be fun.”

- Describing Peja: “Peja is the best shooter I’ve ever seen in my life. That’s what I take from him. He’s an automatic assist. That’s what we called him with the Hornets. I can’t say enough about his shooting ability and he’s a great guy off the court as well. I’m really excited to be here with him as well and hopefully he’s here for a long time.”

- On the Toronto winter: “I’m getting ready. I don’t know if I’m ready yet, but I gotta start getting prepared pretty soon.”

Peja Stojakovic

- On the move to Toronto: “I’m very excited to be here. It’s a new opportunity for me. New challenges. I’m trying to develop some of the young guys. I still don’t know what they have in mind as far as making moves during the season or something like that.”

- Being professional, dealing with movement: “That’s our job. We are professionals. We’ve got to deal with that. I really don’t know what to expect out of this situation. Personally, I feel good. I’m ready to play. It’s up to the organization, how they’re going to use me, what the plans are for the future. Which direction they’re going, I still don’t know about that.”

- A fresh start for him: “It’s a fresh start. It’s a change of scenery. It gives you a different perspective on the basketball court and in life. It’s another fresh start for me in a different country, in a more international environment.”

- On Toronto: “It’s a great city. I always enjoy myself playing against the Raptors in the past. It’s great stuff to come over here and see so many familiar faces. I’m just enjoying myself.”

- On talking to Bryan about his situation: “Not yet. We will talk about it. We are open about anything. We’ll see how that goes.”

- Coming from the Hornets to the Raptors: “It’s still the beginning of the season. You can’t really judge the team on the first 10, 12 games. A lot of teams go through an up and down during the season. When you have a young team, it’s tough to have consistent play. Definitely, with this decision I think the Raptors are playing more toward Calderon and Andrea, just build around those two guys.”

- What he has seen from the Raptors this season: “The games they play, they play with such energy. It’s just sometimes a lack of experience or making bad plays in [crucial] moments. I think that comes with the territory. While playing hard with a lot of energy, you’re getting more experience and more confidence.”

- On his 3-point shooting: “I feel great physically. I feel like I can help this team if the opportunity presents itself. That’s up to him.”

- On his expiring contract: “I expected that during the summer. Every time you have an expiring contract, teams are willing to use that. From my standpoint, I’m real about my situation. I know who I am as a player at this point in my career. On the other hand, if I’m used properly, I think I can help and have a good role here.”

- On being with a young team where the guys are all video gamers, etct: “My kids are actually playing video games. I’m not playing them anymore.”

- On life in the NBA where trades can happen overnight: “The situation, it is what it is. On the other hand, NBA players, we have a good life. Sometimes we take things for granted. We live in a bubble. We get spoiled. Overall, we live in good life. You get separated from your family and kids, but it’s part of the business. I wish this situation was a little bit more stable, but it is what it is.”

- More on Toronto: “I know there are a lot of people from Serbia. I know there are a lot of people from Greece, where my wife is from. Just a lot more international flavour. Every time I came here, I felt like I was coming home. I already feel so good. It feels like I’m in a different country. And I am. But closer [to] home.”

Jose Calderon

- On being happy to be the starting point guard now that Jarrett Jack is gone: “I just want to win for the team, for the Raptors. I was happy before. I have another teammate now, new teammates. We’re going to play the same position. We’re going to compete for those minutes. We’re always practising, being professional. You never know what’s going to happen.”

- On his chemistry with Jack: “We were fighting for minutes sometimes. We were different. There was nothing there. We worked together here, no problems at all. Practise like it’s another guy, another teammate. It’s the same thing with Jerryd now: compete for minutes. That’s all.”

- On changes without Jack: “We’re going to be kind of the same team. We got another great player. It’s the same thing. We have to share the ball more. We have to play more as a team. I don’t know. We’ll see what Jerryd can bring to us.”

- Does the team lose something off court without him: “I think we’re good. If we’re good in that situation. We’ve got a lot of guys here. He really wasn’t the guy who was talking all the time. He was one of us. It was a team.”

- On Peja: “I think he’s a veteran guy. He could be playing a lot of minutes here. He’s a great player. He’s going to give us that shooter, from the outside too. He knows how to play basketball. It’s always nice to have one guy like that.”

Leandro Barbosa

- On Bayless: “He’s a good player. Very athletic, very explosive with the ball. Likes to handle the ball a lot and he does well going to the basket. We’re happy to have him here and hopefully he can do a good job with us.”

- How the Raptors offence will benefit him: “Oh yeah, it’s the way that he likes to play. Running up and down, it will help him, it will make it easier for him. Especially right now, he doesn’t know all of the plays, so playing that way will help him.”

- The impact he had in the game against the Celtics: “I was telling Coach, I wasn’t surprised. This is the way I played in Phoenix, years ago. I was comfortable in the situation and I told him, if you need me to do that again, I will do it no problem. I was happy to do it.”

- Is the wrist feeling better?: “No, it’s not everything is good, you know, but I got hurt with the shoulder so I got a little rest. It’s a little bit better.”

- On how the shoulder is feeling:”It’s still bothering me, but I will be okay. After some treatment, I’ll be fine.”

Jay Triano

- Both new guys seem happy to have a fresh start: “I think they’re guys that weren’t playing in a situation down in New Orleans and I think that the one thing players always want to do is the ability to play. They want to go out and be on the floor. They come in and it’s like the start of a new school year for them. Come in with the right attitude, work hard and try to find their way into a rotation spot.”

- How soon did you get to work on the playbook with Bayless?: “Physical was done at 5 o’clock yesterday. At 5:05 he had a playbook. That fast. We ran through a bunch of plays today. He saw it on paper overnight and we ran through it today and we’ll show him some video clips of some of the things we’ve been able to capture this year of our stuff just so he knows what to look for. For the most part, in the game tomorrow we’ll probably have a very short playbook so that he can concentrate more on playing rather than running the team.”

- How will it be easier for him, playing with a faster-paced offence here: “The first thing we told him about our playbook is, if there’s somebody in front of you, pass it ahead. Don’t worry about running plays. When we have to get set in the halfcourt, we’ll have some simple stuff and easy stuff for you. Drag screens and pushing the ball up the floor and hitting the guy in front of you are probably the key things we touched on with him already.”

- On Peja’s role with the team: “Probably situational right now, but I don’t think I want to close the book on him and say this is where we see you. We’ve got to find a way for him to fit into our rotation. If he does that and knocks down shots, he’s going to help us. I think he’s shooting the basketball last night when he was in here, shooting it today, excellent. We knew he was a good shooter, but just to watch it go through, there’s no variance on where that ball goes. It goes right through the middle every time. We’ve just got to find him ways to get that shot off in the game and find him a way to be on the floor.”

Comments (2)

  1. They sure sound like they’re happy to be here; good to hear. Looking forward to game-time. Nice job of transcribing all that. Go Raps.

  2. Holly you rock! Thanks for the interviews.

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