Although he’s just 25-years-old, Timberwolves point guard Sebastian Telfair qualifies as a well traveled veteran. The 13th overall pick in the 2004 draft by Portland, Telfair was among the last players to enter the NBA straight from the high school ranks. In his 7th season, the Brooklyn native has already played for five teams, been traded five times and is in his second stint with the Wolves.
Telfair was originally acquired by the team back in 2007 from Boston as part of the Kevin Garnett trade. He spent two seasons in Minnesota before being dealt to the Clippers. After finishing up the 2009-10 campaign in Cleveland, he was reacquired by the Wolves in July. Now, with Jonny Flynn finally healthy and Luke Ridnour on the roster, Telfair could be on the move again.
I caught up with the former prep phenom after Monday’s practice at Target Center as he prepared for the Wolves upcoming 7 day, 5 game road trip.
DZ: This is your second go around in Minnesota, how much different is it than the first time?
TELFAIR: It’s a lot different. It’s a whole new team of personnel, but I think this team we have is a lot better. The structure of the team, how everything is being run, I think it is going in the right direction right now.
DZ: You are a guy who has been traded a few times in his career, do you ever get used to that?
TELFAIR: No, you can’t used to getting traded. But as long as you are playing basketball and are getting the opportunity to play you are searching for the team that is going to win the championship. So, if I have to get traded 15 times to win a championship, I am willing to do that.
DZ: What is the hardest thing about getting traded?
TELFAIR: Moving to a new city, readjusting to a routine that you had in a certain city, getting to know the coaches and the staff and the whole organization - that always takes time. When you go to a new team, it’s a huge adjustment.
DZ: You guys are going on the road for awhile, how hard is it to pack all of that stuff? Do you ever forget anything?
TELFAIR: Naw (laughs). I am a veteran now, so I don’t forget anything. I am one of those guys; I look at the schedule as I am packing. I pack for the weather, I am pretty good at that. I learned that from my wife.
DZ: Did you ever have trouble with that when you were younger - in your rookie year?
TELFAIR: Yes. Plenty of times, I didn’t have enough underclothes or enough outfits to go. I’d forget my toothpaste and stuff like that. I don’t make those mistakes anymore.
DZ: I think it was about a week ago you guys were in New York, playing in Madison Square Garden -where you are from. Is it always more exciting for you to play there? Do you kind of get up for that game more?
TELFAIR: Absolutely. You want to get up for every game and be excited for every game, but when you are going back to play in Madison Square Garden - anybody, it’s exciting for - but it’s especially exciting for me getting to play in front of my friends and family. I get to cherish that time.
DZ: You and Stephon Marbury are cousins…do you talk to him much?
TELFAIR: Yeah, that’s my cousin (laughs). Just as much as you talk to your cousins (laughs).
DZ: Do you know how he is doing right now?
TELFAIR: He’s doing good. He is alright. I believe he was out in China for a little bit. I am not exactly sure if he is back home in New York right now or not, but he is OK.
DZ: Last year, you finished out the year on the Cavs, what was that all like - the playoffs and everything?
TELFAIR: It was pretty cool…I was expecting to go a little further in the playoffs, so I was a little disappointed.
DZ: Being around the situation, did you get the sense that Lebron was done there at the end of the year?
TELFAIR: That wasn’t my concern, so I didn’t really know.
DZ: You are a guy who came from high school right into the NBA and they don’t let people do that anymore. Just thinking back, what was the hardest thing about coming from high school all the way up to this level?
TELFAIR: The hardest thing is all of the little things that you have to know in this league that is going to help you be a better player. Even if you are talented…the work ethic, how to work out, watching film, just the things that we focus on that you have to understand - taking it as job - things like that. It takes some years to adjust. I think that college - when you go to college - you probably get that adjustment a little more.
DZ: Do you ever think about - what if? What if you had gone to college, what that would have been like playing in the tournament and all that?
TELFAIR: My first couple of years, I didn’t, but my last couple of years in the league, I have thought about it - the opportunity that I would have given myself if I would have gone to college.