The former Buck, who averaged 19.6 points per game last year, was acquired by the Spurs for Bruce Bowen and Kurt Thomas
Dan Patrick: When you first found out about the trade, what did you think?
Richard Jefferson: I was shocked, to tell you the truth. The fact that San Antonio was able to keep its three main players [Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginóbili] was even more of a shock. It immediately got a buzz going—on my phone and in my head.
DP: Who was the first Spur you spoke to?
RJ: Tim Duncan. He texted me a couple times. We had a pretty good relationship on that stellar USA team back in 2004. I think we bonded through stress over that experience [when the team lost three games at the Olympics and left with the bronze medal]. And so we kept in touch. He was excited. I tell you what, to have the opportunity to play with him and [coach Gregg] Popovich—it's one of the biggest thrills I've ever had in my career.
DP: Who's the team to beat in the West?
RJ: The Lakers. They're the defending champions. The one thing I will never disrespect is the defending champions.
DP: You're getting married soon, aren't you?