On why it didn’t work with the core these past few years: If I knew, we’d be sitting here saying the parade was nice. I had some reasons, but there’s no reason to throw it out there now because there’s no reason to look backwards you learn from it and you try to build on it. But there’s no reason now to say well, we shouldn’t have did this or that. It was done.
On changing course: We didn’t win the championship. And the goal was to try to do that and so now you’ve got to revamp and re-tool it. And we put ourselves in position to have flexibility next season. We knew all along when we traded for Joe (Johnson), traded for Paul (Pierce) and KG (Kevin Garnett) that there was probably a two- to three-year window. And that window closed, so now we knew flexibility would be coming up and we had to re-sign some of our own guys. But this was going to be coming up — whether we kept that group together at this point — this following season was going to be the direction of the change. And without having draft picks, we had to start a little sooner in acquiring some younger talent and to maybe replenish some of those down the road.
On expectations for this season: It’s going to depend on how quickly it gels. But I think with the core of guys, proven scorers, proven guys that can win, we have a chance to make the playoffs. And the goal for us going into this is just to try to get better. We want to build and keep developing our young guys so we put ourselves in a position at the end of the season to be able to have some cap flexibility and then build from there.
On his faith in Jarrett Jack: I think this is the first time in Jarrett’s career where he’s the starter. He’s always been in that backup role, and so he’s had something to prove. Now he’s going into it knowing he’s going to be a leader, and as Lionel said he saw him run pick-and-roll and find guys. He says, ‘You told on yourself.’ Now, going in, Jarrett understands who he’s playing with and what he’s supposed to do.
On if he’s exploring the trade market again: I don’t think any GM would sit there and say, “Yeah, this is how we’re going to be.” You go in not expecting to make deals, and if things come about we have to do, you do. But I’m not on the phones now making calls. I don’t think I’ve made a call to a GM since the end of July. So I don’t foresee making phone calls and it’s let’s get to practice and let these guys play. That’s not my goal — to be aggressive and making phone calls and trying to make trades.
On Chris McCullough: He’s on the court, he’s doing some stuff, rehabbing. But he’s on the court shooting with (Director of Physical Therapy/assistant trainer) Lloyd (Beckett) and his team, doing physical therapy. We’ll give a timetable on exactly where we think he’ll be after [the first] preseason game. We’ll sit down with him and his agent and everybody and really just walk through it. … He has a long career ahead of him, so we want to get him to the point where he’s strong in both legs, and when he comes back he’s ready to be playing for a long time. Not get him back on the court and have a setback.
On Bojan Bogdanovic’s role: We need him to be himself. I think last year, he adjusted very well, I think he started out, started, as he said, he didn’t expect to start and did, and then he went through a little lull. But I thought he came back after the All-Star Break and played well. So we want him to come in now. It’s not about adjusting and fitting in, now just playing basketball. Be aggressive, score, because we do need him to be aggressive and not defer. I thought at the beginning of the year he deferred a lot last year.
On the team’s D-League commitment: The goal is to have one. Hopefully next year. Sooner the better we can get that wrapped up, we’ll make an announcement.
On Brook Lopez’s role: At the end of the season when I met with Brook, I said, ‘We definitely want you back, but part of that we want you back is we want you to be more of a leader. We want you to be more vocal. You don’t have to be rah-rah and jumping around waving towels. But I need you to push this group and help guide it where you want it to go.’ I said, ‘You’ve been here for a long time, but now, if you’re going to come back, you’ve got to put your stamp on it a little bit.’ And I think he’s accepted that. He was in Vegas when we got the group together. He’s been here since early September, he’s been around, pretty much all summer, stopping in. So I think he is taking ownership to it.
On Andrea Bargnani: we’re not looking backwards with him, we’re looking forward. That’s something we told him when we reached out and tried to get him to come here, is you can have a fresh start. We’re not looking at anything you did in Toronto, anything you did in the Knicks. We’re looking at you to come in and be a part of the team. … Don’t worry about living up to anybody else’s expectations but yours.