New York Knicks guard Raymond Felton is set to make his first return trip to the Rose Garden after an ugly 2011-12 season on Thursday, and he has followed up a warning he issued on Wednesday morning with further comments.
On Wednesday morning, Felton told reporters in Denver that there were "certain people there I don't want to see and better not come near me."
Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports Felton's latest statements, which include the assertion that he was not a locker room malcontent and that reports of that nature are inaccurate.
"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."
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."
Felton's 2011-12 season got off to a slow start when he returned from the lockout in poor condition and it went downhill from there, as he struggled with turnovers and poor outside shooting. In March 2012, Felton was implicated in a "mutiny" against former coach Nate McMillan and hit with the "cancer" tag. In April 2012, Felton welcomed his critics to confront him at his condo and said that criticism of his play and conditioning was a "spit in my face."
The Blazers sign-and-traded him to the Knicks in July 2012. In November 2012, he clarified that it wasn't his intention to eat his way out of Portland.
Jason Quick of The Oregonian also laid into Felton on Wednesday.
Then-coach Nate McMillan tried to be patient with Felton and his mistakes while privately bemoaning his conditioning. Eventually, the season started to slip away, and McMillan couldn't wait any longer. He briefly took away Felton's starting job after the Blazers scored seven points in the first quarter in a loss to the Lakers. And as the turnovers mounted -- eight in one game at New Orleans -- he reeled in the freedom for Felton to run the offense.
Felton grew to dislike McMillan, and made little effort to hide his disdain of the task master from his teammates. It was nothing new to McMillan, who over the years knew he had detractors. He often remarked that much of his job was "putting out fires" in the locker room. But with Felton fanning the flames, the anti-McMillan heat grew too hot. The team quit on the coach, and McMillan was fired on March 15.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter