Raymond Felton ready to make fresh start with Mavericks
07/08/2014 3:57 PM
11/12/2014 6:42 PM
Raymond Felton is hoping to put the 2013-14 season as far back in his rearview mirror as he possibly can.
That’s how disjointed last season was for the nine-year veteran.
In June, Felton cut a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to attempted criminal possession of a gun. He had been charged in February with possession of a weapon after his estranged wife and her attorney brought a semi-automatic handgun to a Manhattan precinct.
In essence, the trade from the New York Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks was perfect timing as far as Felton is concerned.
“All that [legal] stuff should be completely in my past before I even come [to Dallas],” Felton said Tuesday during a conference call. “It’s a good thing that I’m coming there and not being in New York, where I would have none of that stuff hanging over my head.
“I had a lot of tough things that went on last year in New York. I will be able to put those things behind me and get a fresh start with a fresh organization, and a great organization at that.”
Although he had some nagging injuries which limited him to just 65 games last year, Felton made no excuses about scoring a career-low 9.7 points per game while shooting a frosty 39.5 percent from the field.
“Last season was all my fault — it was nobody else’s but mine,” Felton said. “I take the blame for it totally, but like I said, I look forward to this year.
“I’m putting all that behind me last year. I’m looking forward to this year with the Mavs.”
So are the Mavs, who have high hopes for Felton.
“Raymond has been through some tough times,” said Donnie Nelson, the team’s president of basketball operations. “It’s no secret that he’s made some mistakes and he wishes that he had them back.
“It’s no secret that he’s gone through some difficult times in New York. I know that he’s a good person and he’s got a big heart.”
Felton, 30, said conditioning wasn’t a problem for him last season and it isn’t an issue now.
“At this point in the summer, I’m probably in the best shape that I’ve ever been in the past four or five summers this early,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of things that are motivating me this summer, so I’m just really getting out there and just working extra, extra hard.
“I’m not really doing anything different. Just doing it more and working at it harder.”
Felton, who will earn $4.36 million next season and has a player option that pays him $4.54 million in 2015-16, also is looking forward to playing again with center Tyson Chandler.
The two were teammates in New York the past two seasons and were paired in the trade that sent Samuel Dalembert, Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and two second-round draft picks to New York.
“Me and Tyson had a great relationship on and off the court,” Felton said. “So just to have somebody there with me who’s been in Dallas, who won a championship there in Dallas, it’s only going to help me with my transition.”
In addition, Felton is salivating at the thought of teaming up with Dirk Nowitzki, a 12-time All-Star and the NBA’s No. 10 all-time leading scorer.
“Dirk has always been one of my favorite players in the NBA,” Felton said. “As a point guard, it’s always great to have a big man that can really shoot the ball the way he does.
“To get an opportunity to play with him, it’s going to be fun. For me, it’s just my job to try to make things easier for me, try to penetrate and try to get inside the paint and try to make things as easy as possible for him as well.”
And try, as Felton says, for a fresh start in a new environment.
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