<
>

Justin Holiday on Knicks' outlook: 'Just come in and compete'

Justin Holiday hopes to bring defensive intensity and help the Knicks get into the playoffs. Matt Bush/USA TODAY Sports

Justin Holiday is new to the New York Knicks, but he’ll find several familiar faces in the locker room in the coming season. Holiday is one of three members of the 2015-16 Chicago Bulls on the Knicks’ roster.

New York acquired Holiday in late June as part of the Derrick Rose trade. A few days later, the club signed ex-Bulls center Joakim Noah in free agency.

Holiday, a 6-foot-6 combo guard, is expected to compete with the recently signed Sasha Vujacic for minutes in the second unit. The 27-year-old has played both overseas and in the NBA since leaving the University of Washington as the 2011 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

He took some time away from training in Los Angeles recently to talk to ESPN.com about his outlook for the season. Below is an edited version of the Q&A:

Q: What was your reaction to the trade?

A: “The first word is surprised, because I didn’t know anything about it. Usually what happens is I sit and think about the situation where I’m going -- and I’m going to a great organization. So I was excited to hear that and excited to be wanted, excited to be competing at this level and hopefully fighting for a championship.”

Q: What are your expectations heading into this season?

A: “Obviously, first and foremost, is to play. That’s one of my goals. To contribute all season. Just be a guy that helps the team on both ends of the floor. Do whatever I can to make things easier for other players and also to be there when they need an outlet or any situation. Just to be a good team player and obviously defend well, knock down open shots.”

Q: How do you think you fit with the roster?

A: “I think I fit well. One thing I pride myself on is being, one, coachable and two, able to adjust in any situation I’m in. I’ve played in a lot of different offenses. I’ve played with a lot of different people. And I think being a part of this team, and also having Derrick with me, who I’m familiar with, I think I’ll mesh well with these guys.”

Q: Have you spoken to Phil Jackson, Steve Mills and Jeff Hornacek and, if so, what was the message?

A: “One, I’m from LA. I grew up a Laker fan. To be able to speak to Phil and him bringing me in and wanting me to be a part of this team was an honor. And speaking with coach, we all know coach’s career and (I appreciate) the opportunity to learn from him and, also, the opportunity to learn the game from both of those people. I’m very excited, and glad to be a part of this team. They said, just come in and compete. And that’s it. Just come in and do my job. It’s not anything special as far as, ‘You’re going to get this, you’re going to get that.’ And that’s the way I want it.

“I’m excited to be a part of this team and excited to play in front of these fans and excited to play in Madison Square Garden, such a historic place. I’m excited about the city, to see what it has to offer. I’m from LA. I haven’t been to New York that much. So it will be a whole different world for me as far as winning and city life. Hopefully we can do well and get in the playoffs and see what happens.”