Raymond Felton, NBA logo (Getty Images)
In his defense, Raymond Felton said “maybe” he’ll drop 50 when he returns to Portland to play his former team. Maybe, in a game that could be played without Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Amar’e Stoudemire, Felton will shoot and score enough to ring that magic number and stick it to all the haters that dared to criticize Felton for showing up to camp in awful shape before the 2011-12 season and playing terribly all year.
Felton will have his chance on Thursday as his Knicks visit the Blazers, the culmination of two days worth of “whatever, I’m over it … but let me complain more about it”-talks with the media from Felton. It’s understandably frustrating for Felton to feel like he’s only ever asked about either his weight, his lost year in Portland, or his gig replacing Jeremy Lin – so I get the anger … but then again Raymond Felton came to camp way out of shape last year and played terrible.
Things started on Wednesday, when Felton seemed to take a shot at various media that cover the Blazers. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News was the first to toss out these lovely remarks:
Raymond Felton says he has no problem with Portland fans but "certain people there I don't want to see and better not come near me."
Just a guess but "certain people" that better not "come near" Felton in Portland are probably media folks & maybe someone in organization
On possibly facing a hostile crowd in Portland, Raymond Felton said: "I could care less what they do or what they say. That's behind me."
(“Could care less.”)
Comcast’s Chris Haynes got a hold of Felton soon after to clarify that whole “better not come near me”-thing:
When CSNNW.com asked him who he was referring to, he responded by saying, “They know who I was talking about. They better not come by me or ask me a question. I've already let people know. You can't put out lies like that and expect me to talk to you. Please.”
The great Ben Golliver at Blazer’s Edge, in a hilarious series of droll blog posts all featuring an un-doctored photo of Felton holding a cupcake, is documenting all of the frustrations of Blazer fans as they gear up for a game that they more than likely circled on the calendar as soon as the NBA’s 2012-13 schedule was released. In his series of posts, he makes a point to reference an ESPN.com report from Chad Ford that detailed an alleged “mutiny” led by Felton and other players, bent on overthrowing former Blazer coach Nate McMillan.
The problem with Felton’s warning, outside of it working as a threat of sorts, is that Chad Ford is probably in Hawaii right now boning up on the rebound rates of second round pick in the 2015 NBA draft. He won’t be in Portland, much less approaching Felton, so why the rough tone?
“If they boo me because of those negative articles, they would just be reacting off of the lies,” Felton said. “Everything written about me and coach [McMillan] was wrong. You can talk to any other teams I've been on and ask if I've ever been a problem in the locker room. I never have. I heard they booed Jamal [Crawford], so I know what to expect. But really, we just had a tough season last year.”
There’s the problem, Raymond.
By the end of McMillan’s tenure in Portland, many if not most fans were ready for the longtime Blazer coach to go. When Kaleb Canales took over as interim head coach, the fans responded to the change in culture and pace. If Blazer fans boo you, Ray, it’s not because Chad Ford lied to them.
It’s because you showed up to camp out of shape, thinking that the lockout would cancel the entire 2011-12 season, and then proceeded to turn the ball over in nearly one in every five possessions you used up. Play the martyr card all you want about a story based off of anonymous sources (and that’s not a shot at Ford), but understand that when the boos come down it will be because you were the lead guard on a team that was expected to compete for the playoffs even with Brandon Roy’s retirement, and you disappointed them by coming into camp way out of shape.
A shape that Felton has owned up to, many times, by the way. In each of the interviews you can find at Blazer’s Edge the former PDX guard has copped to showing up overweight, and how he is going to “own it.” A sound move on his part, but then he follows up that move by pretending to be ambivalent about his return to Portland in the same breaths he uses to talk up dropping 50 points against his former team, keeping certain media members away, and defending himself against the anticipated boos. He’s having it both ways.
(Which is how Raymond Felton orders his breakfast. Boom. That didn’t make any sense.)
As Dan Devine noted on Wednesday, in a week full of returns (Dwight, Carmelo) this is by far and away the lowest in terms of Q rating and exposure. It’s unquestionably the weirdest, though.
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