While the trade with the Phoenix Suns happened Thursday afternoon, Sebastian Telfair arrived in Toronto Friday evening, met with his new teammates Saturday and was sent home because of illness on Sunday.
After a whirlwind weekend, Telfair was back on his feet and ready to meet the press Monday morning. After shootaround, the newest Raptor wanted the team’s fans to know he was looking forward to getting things going with his new team.
“I was sitting at home and I got a call that I was traded,” Telfair said. “When I heard I was coming to be a Raptor, I was excited. I know they’ve got a lot of good momentum going here right now with the playoff push so I’m happy to be a part of that.”
While he knew that there was a strong possibility that he would be moved, Telfair said it isn’t something a player ever gets used to.
“Definitely not in the middle of the season,” he said. “Basketball is a team sport so you need that time to gel with your team. You need to go to training camp and work hard with your guys to get in shape and kind of build something. Getting traded in the middle of the season, it’s a little difficult. You’ve got to go and do the same thing, same job.”
While the point guard missed Sunday’s practice session, he was able to go over the plays and was the last player to leave the court after the morning shootaround, working with assistant coaches to get familiar with his new playbook.
Dwane Casey said that for the time being, Telfair will play behind Kyle Lowry and John Lucas III. The Raptors coach also said he already feels comfortable putting his newest charge on the floor if need be.
“He’s been through the wars,” Casey said. “He’s one of those typical New York point guards that can handle the basketball and run the show. I wouldn’t have any hesitation to put Bassy in … just because of his experience.”
Telfair said the adjustment to a new locker room will be aided by the fact that he already knows a lot of his new teammates.
“I’ve been around and I’ve got relationships with a lot of these guys so that won’t be too hard,” he said. “Just got to kind of fit in. No matter how cool I think I am, guys have been together for a few months so I’ve just got to get in where I fit in right now.”
While being uprooted in the middle of the season is never easy, when your move brings you to a better situation it eases the burden a bit. Telfair didn’t mince words when asked about the strange year the Suns are having.
“This is my ninth year in the league so I definitely don’t want to go through anything like we were going through in Phoenix,” he said. “You’ve got a goal to win and if you’re not winning you at least want to be out there competing at the highest level and we weren’t doing that over there in Phoenix this year. I’m happy to be a part of a team that got a goal for themselves and night in and night out they’ve got something to achieve.”
With the Raptors currently four games back of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, the team is trying to keep their eyes on the prize of reaching the postseason. While it’s unknown how Telfair will fit into the rotation, there was one thing he wanted Raptors fans to know:
“I love basketball, I’m going to go out there and give my all every day practice and in games. You know you’ve got all the Sebastian Telfair that you can possibly have for the season.”