Who knows what will happen with Ray Felton and the Charlotte Bobcats? This past summer the team certainly had the opportunity to extend their talented young point guard, but passed for a number of credible reasons. At the end of the day, though, he remains in North Carolina, as he has for many years dating from well before his time as a professional, and this contract talk doesn't seem to be bothering him at all.We're going to see a lot of you and D.J. Augustin on the floor together this year. What's the best thing about playing with another point guard out there as opposed to a two guard?In terms of Charlotte Bobcats storylines, Ray Felton's is going to get more burn than probably any other. It's an interesting one to follow because he is so talented, but with the emergence of the less expensive D.J. Augustin, can his current team afford to keep him? The answer to that question is still a ways off, but in the meantime we can continue to enjoy watching Felton play for the team he's always played for. For now, that's enough.
"It's fun, man. Actually, it's really fun. A lot of people think there would be a lot of problems between me and him, but it's nice because either of us can handle the ball and play either position. If he's bringing the ball up, I can go to the two and that can cause problems. And I can guard a two guard on the defensive end, so it actually really works out."
Talk a little bit about your thought process over the summer—hearing all this stuff about you potentially getting traded. What goes through your head hearing all that?
"It's one thing with me that I learned early as a professional athlete, that it's a business. You're going to hear rumors, but if you don't hear anything about yourself being traded then that means there aren't any other teams looking at you. That's obviously something that you don't want. I mean, don't get me wrong—I want to be here. I love the Bobcats and there's no place I'd rather be. But it's good to know that there are other teams that are looking at you just in case things don't work out for me here. But this is where I want to be. I love this team, I love the group of guys that we have and some of the changes that we've made. I like our chances. I like our chances versus anybody, honestly."
What sorts of things is management telling you in terms of how they'd like to handle you this season and into next summer?
"I'm not really even talking with them right now. That's my agent's job. Right now my job is to play 82 games and his job is to be talking and negotiating with management, talking to Rod Higgins and all those guys about me and my future with the Bobcats. All I do is come out and play ball."
I talked to Ben Gordon a lot last year when he was here in Chicago, and he was going through something similar in that he was playing ball knowing he'd be heading into free agency later that year. His view on it all is that on some level the amount of money you get and how seriously an organization approaches you about an extension speaks to what they think you're worth—that it's kind of a reward for your time and investment in a franchise. Would you agree with that?
"Yeah, I mean you can't look at it that way because it could be like a bittersweet type of emotion in your head, but at the same time if you're a player that brings it every night, that works hard, that gives his all for a team and his teammates, then you want to be rewarded. But things could work out for me where I'm able to sign an extension this summer. I just want to get through this season and try to make the playoffs because we've got the team to do it."
You guys have been pretty hot on the road so far, but things just haven't been happening on the road for you just yet. Talking to Gerald (Wallace), it sounds like he believes those first two road losses had more to do with playing really good teams than actually having struggles. Do you agree with him, or do you think it's something different?
"You know, like he said, we're playing really good teams in their buildings. We've played Cleveland and Boston, two of the best teams in the East, in their buildings, so you're going to have a tough time there. But at the same time, I think we're playing our best game right now defensively. We've had some good games offensively, and we're mixing both together."
Finally, I always thought it was a great story the year you and Sean May were drafted together in the lottery, coming out of North Carolina and then being drafted by the North Carolina pro team. Having played so long with him, was it kind of a bummer to see how his tenure ended up here with the Bobcats?
"Yeah because I know what type of player he is. I know that he loves basketball and that he wants to do the best he can. But his injuries prohibited him from doing that. That kind of sucks, man. Like I said though, it's a business. This team didn't want to take a chance on him, but I'm glad and I thank God that he's still able to be in the league and be in Sacramento to get a chance. He's still struggling a little bit there, but it's going to take some time for him to get back to form and have confidence in his leg. In the long run, and as he progresses this year in Sacramento, I think he's going to be okay."
Hope Resurrected: "I think I can bring an attitude to a team as far as, ‘All right, no matter what, we are not losing this game'." - Kemba Walker
"Its okay to be bad; just so long as you're bad ass." - Keetch