Mike James Discusses the Future
The Wizards likely had more actual NBA players visit Las Vegas during Summer League than any other team. From the five players in uniform (Nick Young, JaVale McGee, Andray Blatche, Dominic McGuire, Javaris Crittenton) to the two guys working out in Vegas (Mike Miller, Antawn Jamison) to the two guys just taking in the action (Brendan Haywood, Mike James), well over half of the roster spent at least one night in the gym.
Of those nine guys, you could probably argue that James's job with the Wizards is most tenuous. The veteran point guard was third on the Wiz a year ago with nearly 30 minutes a game while averaging 9.6 points and 3.6 assists. He was also a hugely entertaining quote; "Hey, I'm telling you, my toes is nice, and I get a pedicure at least once every two weeks," he told reporters after the regular season ended. "I will walk around with my shoes off....I've got some of the sexiest toes in the game."
("I don't look at no other man's feet," Caron Butler responded, when we asked if this was true. "I'm keeping it real, y'all.")
Anyhow, James has already made 10 stops in his eight-year NBA career, if you include Houston twice. And since he's making more than $6 million this year as part of a backcourt whose members include a nine-figure franchise guy in Gilbert, the newly acquired Randy Foye, and a much younger player in Crittenton, it could easily turn out to be 11 stops in nine years. So when we briefly chatted in Vegas, I asked him about his status on this team, and a few other things.
What's your deal, you think? I mean, are you worried?
I'm not worried about nothing. Do I look worried? Because at the end of the day, it's not up to me. The only thing I can do is prepare myself and get myself ready. You know, all the other stuff that comes along with it is out of my control.
Do you think you're gonna be with the Wizards this year?
Who knows. It's a long time from now. Anything can happen from July 'til February, and so because of that, I don't have a home in Washington. You know, I rent. I was in a hotel last year. I don't have no ties, so if I do get traded, it's water under the bridge. I understand that that's just a business decision that has to be done, and so wherever I go, I'm gonna be ready to play.
When you saw that trade [for Foye and Miller], though, were you concerned?
Well actually, it really didn't bother me whether I stayed or went, but I was a little bit happy that I didn't go back to Minnesota. I think that they knew that I'd have been a little in some type of way if I'd have wound up [back there], but everything happens for a reason. I understand that. If I was there, if I was in Minnesota, then I'd have to work for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and that's not a problem. The trade was able to work without me. It is what it is.
You're not sick of being traded?
Man, listen, what you have to understand, it's about the game of basketball. It's not about the other nonsense that comes along with it. And I feel like if it's more than basketball, and the politics and all the media and the hype plays a part in me playing and not just my skill level, and you're looking at my age and you're looking at all these other things, I don't want to be there no more. Because no one has helped me get this far in my career, and so no one's gonna help sustain me. And so because no one's gonna help sustain me, if I'm not happy with the basketball, what's the point of me staying there? I'm not there for nothing else but to play.
What'd you think about Nick [Young's performance in Summer League]?
Nick is special. You know, Nick has always been special. And this gives him confidence, this will also give him confidence going into training camp, so I think this will definitely be a special year for him.
Can he be a big-time scorer in the NBA?
I mean, it's been proven that he's a big-time scorer, but it's about consistency. You know, he's been able to put some back-to-back good games, over-30 point games together, so that lets you know that on an NBA level, he can score. But it's now about consistency, it's now about learning from the last game, taking all your experience that you learned from the last game and building on it. And so once he understands that, yes, he can become a consistent scorer in this league.
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