Richard Jefferson had to move on quickly from San Antonio. After trading away Stephen Jackson, the Golden State Warriors needed RJ right away. He played 38 minutes with the team in his first game, only a couple days after the trade. Since then, he’s been averaging about 30 minutes a game, already integrated into the offense.
“For the most part, it depends on your IQ, and they pretty much give you a simple package,” Jefferson said of adjusting quickly to a new team. “It’s no different. I’ve been playing for 11 years. There may be different terminology. I played against the Warriors 20 times. They have to change their offense also. You lose a guy like Monta and there’s a set of plays that you’re running for him that aren’t the same. It’s a transition process for everyone.”
A trade can be tough on a player. Your team is letting you go and you don’t have a say in the matter. No matter how attached you are to your teammates, the city you live in or anything else, you’re gone. RJ accepts it as just part of the game.
“If you’re in this job long enough, you can’t be sensitive,” Jefferson said. “It’s not a job for sensitive people. You have to be mentally prepared to play for another team. If you don’t handle it well, it will affect your performance. I played for New Jersey for seven years, was ninth in the league in scoring. I got traded that summer after having my best statistical year and dedicated myself and I got traded that summer. The first one hurt. After that you just move on and understand it’s a business. Jersey hasn’t been the same since.”
While it may have been easy for San Antonio Spurs fans to say goodbye to Richard Jefferson, he may still be around. RJ said he’s treating the rest of the season like an extended road trip. He packed a bag and left his girlfriend behind. He says he doesn’t want to buy a house near Oakland just yet. Not until he knows he’ll be there for a while.
RJ will just be a nomad for now. I guess that’s the nature of the business.