Mike Bibby: "I'm not on another team and I'm not worrying about it"
You were mentioned in so many trade rumors before the deadline. Are you glad that the trade deadline is over?
Mike Bibby: I really wasn’t dealing with it anyway. I have an agent for that. I was hearing the stuff that everybody would talk about and write, so that was about it.
The night that the trade dealine passed you had one of your best games of the year, scoring 30 points and hitting 6 of 12 from three-point range in a 109-106 loss at Washington. Was there relief that the deadline had passed?
MB: No, I figured it was either going to happen or it wasn’t. I was prepared for both. Now I have to finish the season here instead of leaving. I love these guys to death and I told them that. Regardless, I will play hard for them and myself.
There were some teams in the thick of the playoff race, such as Cleveland, where the trade rumors involving you were the strongest. Were you disappointed that you weren’t traded, especially to a team that is considered a potential title contender?
MB: No. you have to go with the flow. It’s a business and can’t dwell on it. I know it went down to the dealdline and if I was traded I would have had to make new friends and start over. I’m not on another team and I’m not worrying about it. I’m here and am doing the best I possibly can.
So the trade rumors didn’t affect you at all?
MB: No. It didn’t bother me. I try not to let things bother me.
Even though the Kings have struggled, the team remains in contention for a Western Conference playoff spot. What is your take on the situation?
MB: The 7 through 12 spots are all so close. We aren’t totally out of it. If we keep playing hard, then it is still within reach for us.
How much motivation does it give you knowing that you are still in a race for a playoff spot?
MB: Regardless, we are all professionals. If we have a chance to make the playoffs or not, I think everybody is going to play hard anyway. It’s just a pride thing. As professionals, we take a lot of pride in it.
What does the team have to do in order to get more consistency?
MB: Just play better defense. Get more stops. We aren’t getting as many stops as in the past and teams are shooting a higher percentage. So once we get that down, things will take care of themselves.
Ron Artest has made headlines on and off the court. Could you assess the way you think he’s played this season?
MB: Ron has played good. He has turned a couple of games around with his defensive play. He has won some games for us in that aspect, shutting down people, getting steals when we need steals. That is Ron. It’s something you expect.
Are you confident that the Kings can pull things out in the stretch run?
MB: I think so. I will do my best to do whatever it takes and try to have the guys follow.
You have the reputation for being one of the best players in the NBA who has never appeared in an All-Star Game. Does this bother you?
MB: No, not at all. It would be good to be there. I don’t think my season or career will be summed up in an All-Star appearance. A lot of it is political and I know that and I don’t worry myself with the stuff I can’t control.
During your first three years with Sacramento, you played on a legitimate NBA title contenders, losing in Game 7 in the Western Conference finals in 2002 to the Los Angeles Lakers and then falling in Game 7 in the conference semifinals the next two years. What was it like being part of those teams?
MB: It was fun. The guys, everybody on those teams was concerned with winning instead of individual goals and that is why we were so successful. A lot of times you see teams that try to win and don’t care about statistics like San Antonio and Detroit. Winning teams don’t care who scores the baskets, just who wins the games.
Any time you play the Philadelphia 76ers, is there any extra incentive since your father Henry is an assistant coach there?
MB: No. Regardless who we play I play hard every time.
Your team has endured some difficult losses lately. How tough is it to put a bad game behind you and move ahead?
MB: You play so many that you have to put it behind you. The good thing about it is that you don’t have to wait a week to get back. You have to get right back at it again.
Marc Narducci covers the NBA for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com
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