By Kevin Arnovitz
It's a tough week for non-rostered players trying to hang on with NBA teams. The vast majority of them will be clearing out their lockers and packing up their belongings. Such was the case on Monday for NBA veteran Anthony Roberson, the 26-year-old guard who has spent the past month with the Los Angeles Clippers. We caught up with Roberson as he was moving out of the Marriott in Marina Del Rey near the Clippers training facility, as he ponders his next move.
How did you learn you were being cut?
After my last practice when I got off the court, the trainer told me that Coach Dunleavy wanted to see me. I knew what it was. I know how it works. This isn't my first time around.
Did he bring you into his office?
No, he told me on the court. He thanked me for working hard, and I thanked him for the opportunity. At the end of the day, I knew it was going to come down to me and Kareem Rush. Kareem is a good player, so it really wasn't a letdown.
You've been around the block, but does it still hurt to get cut right before the season starts?
Not this one so much. I got a real opportunity. The Denver situation (training camp, 2007) -- that hurt me. I was putting up double-digits for them, was playing a lot, and gave it my all. This time, I knew the situation. I came into camp with a different mindset.
So what's your next move?
I'm going to take a few days and figure out my options. There are opportunities in Europe and the D-League. I'm going to go back home to Atlanta for a few days, then go see my mom in Michigan and see how she's doing.
What kind of situation are you looking for?
I want to go where I can play. Europe is very powerful. A lot of players benefit by being on a club overseas. The most important thing is that I get a chance to show what I can do, where I can have the ball in my hands. The D-League is also a good place, especially the teams being sponsored by an NBA team.
What's the most frustrating thing for you about the process?
I know I'm an NBA player. That's the most disappointing thing. Sometimes, you fight with yourself. You question yourself sometimes. But then you remember you've had success, and even though you're not getting the full opportunity you want, you can't get down on yourself. You have to remember that everyone takes a different route and I respect the route I've taken. It makes me stronger and appreciate it the chances I get.
Having trained with them for a month, what's your read on the Clippers?
I love the attitude they have now. You can tell it's like night and day -- a whole different season and it seems a whole lot better than last year. In preseason, they're playing the whole game every game, from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. They're going to be in a lot of games this season. They have players like Rasual Butler who bring in a different mindset. Everyone in the locker room is looking forward to this year. They know they can play with any team in the NBA, and that confidence is half the battle in this league. They have so much to prove and it's going to be interesting to watch how they get better.
How do you think Baron Davis is going to impact the team this year?
He's a vet and he's playing with a chip on his shoulder -- but a positive chip. He's motivated. He knows that as he goes, the Clippers go. He's getting back to the way he was at Golden State. I loved playing with him.
You've played for a bunch of NBA coaches. How would you describe Mike Dunleavy's style?
He's very organized and structured -- a veteran coach. You always know what he expects of you in terms of schemes. The things we ran in practice show that he knows what it takes to win. I respect him. He also has that positive chip on his shoulder after last season. He thinks the Clippers are as good as anyone -- and I believe that too. And you can't blame him for thinking that. The talent they have is unbelievable.
What about Blake Griffin?
As good as he is at basketball, he's also a good person. He loves the game. He stays in the gym all the time. He's young, energetic and he's willing to listen and learn. His nickname on the team is "Amazing," because everyday he's going to do something that makes you go, "Whoooaaa!" He's going to be big in L.A.. His upside is crazy.
Can you imagine a life for yourself without basketball?
No. I've been playing since I was five. I just can't imagine it. Can't.