Has there been an NBA team that shooting guard Quentin Richardson hasn't been traded to this summer? On June 25, the New York Knicks dealt Richardson, who averaged 10 points per game last season, to the Memphis Grizzlies for center Darko Milicic. About three weeks later, Memphis shipped the nine-year veteran to the Los Angeles Clippers for high-scoring forward and perennial troublemaker Zach Randolph. Three days after that, the Clips moved Richardson to the Minnesota Timberwolves for three nondescript bench warmers. Finally (we think), on Aug. 13 Minnesota gave Richardson better weather, and a better shot at the postseason, by trading him to Miami for journeyman Mark Blount. TIME chatted with Richardson about his dizzying summer.
Have you been traded this morning?
[Laughs.] Nah, nah, I'm cool.
What's it like to be shifted around so much?
The most difficult part is not knowing where you're going to end up, as far as living, getting settled in and situated. Other than that, it's not that big of a deal. I didn't have to do a whole lot of traveling. It wasn't like I had to go to every city and take a physical. I haven't really gone anywhere. Each time I was traded, I tried to figure out where I fit in with each team. I envisioned myself playing for that team, for however short a time that was. It wasn't a lot of moving. It was just a lot of not knowing.
Did you make any real estate decisions that then got blown up by a trade?
Nothing more than looking on the Internet. I don't have any kids; I'm the only one who has to pick up and move. It's not like I got a whole family or anything like that.
Are you still waiting out the summer to see if you end up somewhere else?
Nah, I've been actively house-hunting [in Miami]. I'm going to rent, but I was going to rent regardless of where I was going to be this year. I was renting last year anyway. So I've been looking.
What's the mental impact of getting traded so often?
I'm an optimist. I look at everything positively. Instead of looking at it as someone not wanting me, I always think that the next team wants me.
Have your friends been teasing you about this?
I have been talking to [former Knicks teammate Malik Rose], and he's come up with a couple of jokes. He says, "Just send me your address so I can send you a Christmas card." Everyone else is pretty funny about it. People ask me, "What team are you on now, what city are you in now?" All that different stuff.
Do you think it's fair that pro athletes can get shipped around like commodities? Office workers don't have to worry about suddenly being traded to another branch or company in another city. It can disrupt lives, right?
I don't mind. With the job we have, the things we get to do, the money we're paid, you should be able to deal with the things that come with it. At the end of the day, I knew I still had a guaranteed contract that's worth crazy money [$9.3 million for 2009-10] at a time when money is scarce in America. Yeah, I'm getting traded here and there, but in the big picture, I don't really look at it as a tough situation, because I'm blessed to be paid as much as I am. I have both family and friends that play overseas. They don't see a quarter of the money I see, and they never know where they're going. So, you know, I just look at the bright side.
Have you gotten any endorsement offers from luggage companies?
[Laughs.] Nah. Not yet. It's an interesting idea though. I may have to tell my agent that.
Who is the best basketball player in the world, and why?
Kobe Bryant, just because of his finishing ability, the killer instinct he has. He's kind of like a shark. When he senses blood in the water, he's going to attack.
The biggest story of the NBA off-season is Shaquille O'Neal joining LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. How does the move affect Cleveland's chances of winning the championship?
I think they obviously improved. People have different things to say about Shaq, but he is undoubtedly the most dominant force in the NBA. When we're playing, we notice that Shaq is on the court. Regardless of how effective he's been, he affects you mentally. He changes your thought process about how you're going to go in there and do different things.
Last thing: Have you been traded during this discussion? Or are you still in Miami?
[Laughs.] Yeah, yeah, I'm all good.