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Cam Reddish Knocks Knicks, Thibodeau in Recent Interview

The newly-acquired Blazer reflects on his rollercoaster ride with the New York Knicks and what kept him off the floor in NYC. Hint: It wasn’t basketball, according to him.

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NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Cam Reddish has given his Portland Trail Blazers coaching staff, teammates and fanbase reasons to feel good about acquiring the 23-year-old small forward at the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline. However, his storied trials and tribulations with the New York Knicks seemingly left an unforgettably bad taste in his mouth, which he made clear in a recent interview.

Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News detailed Reddish’s recent jump from NYC to the Rose City, including Reddish’s explanation for why he fell out of New York’s rotation this season.

“It was tough but at the same time, it ain’t even about basketball,” Reddish told the Daily News. “It had nothing to do with basketball. It was all the politics, all the favoritism. S—t like that. That’s why I wasn’t too worried about it.”

Reddish didn’t expand on his answer. As the Blazers wing outlined in the interview, he has good reasons to focus on the future, rather than look back at his frustrations with the Knicks and Tom Thibodeau.

Reddish went on to discuss why Portland is a better, more positive fit for him, especially after hitting rock bottom in his young career — a popular storyline in the media lately.

“I’m in a completely different place. Now I’m blessed. Not everybody gets another opportunity so it’s refreshing,” said Reddish, the 10th overall pick in 2019. “I got some great teammates. Great staff. It’s real positive around here. Win, lose or draw. It’s not somebody beating you over your head — not that that was happening in New York — but it’s more my style.”

Reddish hinted that [Knicks head coach Tom] Thibodeau’s impatience affected his confidence. With some other players like Obi Toppin, Thibodeau has been quick to sub out after a mistake.

“I can shoot a shot — and in New York, I feel like I HAD to make it,” Reddish, who will face the Knicks on Tuesday in Portland, said. “I know I’m not the only person that felt like that.

“I was putting too much pressure on myself. Now I can relax and play my game. You’re going to see it. The more I’m on the court, the more I’m going to grow and play. I’m happy.”

Reddish fell out of the good graces with Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau in short order following his arrival to the team midway through the 2021-22 season. He struggled in his first year at Madison Square Garden, playing in 14.3 minutes per game and only seeing double figures in scoring twice in 15 appearances. After a bump in playing time early this season, including a brief stint as a starter, his tenure with the Knicks ended in 33 consecutive DNPs.

Thibodeau has long been known as a rough-and-tough play-caller that demands intensity from his players, particularly on the defensive end, and loads of minutes. Other players have spoken out against his coaching tactics over the years. Reddish just so happens to be the latest to voice his displeasure.

Since joining the Blazers, Reddish has blossomed as a scoring role player. He’s averaging 13.8 points and 2.7 assists on 46.4 percent shooting from the field and 38.2 percent shooting from the three-point line — all career highs. The ‘positive’ atmosphere that Blazers All-Star team leader Damian Lillard has helped cultivate in Portland has paid dividends for the forward.

The Blazers are 4-8 since Reddish made his debut with the team, yet much of that can be attributed to absences from Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic, Jerami Grant and Justise Winslow — all of which have overlapped at one point since after the All-Star break. All things considered, Reddish has proven that he can be a major player on the second unit when all their horses are healthy, and provide much needed firepower for the reserves.