By Jeremy Lamb, Oklahoma City Thunder
When I first found out I was getting traded from Houston to Oklahoma City about a month ago, it was a shock and definitely unexpected. I played summer league and preseason with the Rockets, and when I found out I was getting traded, I knew I was going to have to learn a new system, a new coaching staff and new teammates.
I had no idea the trade was coming, and wasn’t sure how it was going to work out. But both teams talked me through it. First, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey talked to me about it. About 30 to 45 minutes later, Thunder general manager Sam Presti called me to tell me I’d be going to Oklahoma City and that they were going to fly me out the next day and get started right away. Coach [Scott] Brooks also called me that night.
I left around 4 p.m. the next day, so there was very little time to say goodbyes. I had a chance to talk to some people, including Coach [Kevin] McHale. I liked him a lot, as a coach and a player. He’s a good coach and I enjoyed talking to him. I was glad I was able to say goodbye to him, as well as to some of the other rookies like Scott Machado and Terrence Jones. I spoke to Toney Douglas, who told me, “This is a business. I’ve seen firsthand that side of the business early on in my career, too. Go ahead and do your thing, be aggressive, and work hard.”
I’ve definitely seen the business side of the NBA early, probably before any of the other rookies. But that’s not a bad thing, just something I had to go through. Everything happens for a reason, and I was blessed to play with Houston.
I am adjusting now, so everything is going good.
OKC, Here We Come!
I like it here in Oklahoma City so far. It’s a good city with real good fans and nice people. There’s not much to do, so you can really focus on basketball, which reminds me of Connecticut.
I’ve been living in a hotel since I got to OKC. About a week ago, my mom and someone from my agency came here to help me find a place, and I’ll be moving in in about a week or two. My Mom, Dad and sister are still living in Houston, but they will be moving out to here in a month or so.
We were on the road for Thanksgiving. This was not the first time I wasn’t with my family for the holiday, so I think I’m kind of used to it by now. Growing up, we used to go to my Bishop’s house in Atlanta; cook some good food and have fun. This year, we didn’t do anything as a team, but some people had Thanksgiving food before we got on the plane.
Christmas is the only holiday where I really wish I were with my family. Last year, when I was playing with UComm, we had practice on Christmas Day because we had a game the next day. This year, we will be playing the Miami Heat in Miami on Christmas Day. That will be exciting!
A lot of my teammates, especially Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins and Russell Westbrook, have taken me under their wing. Right when the trade happened, KD and Perk texted me saying they were glad to have me and to come in ready to work. I’ve been putting in extra work with KD; Perk has been helping me out; and Russ has been working with me from day one. I’m playing with a lot of great players here who are really teaching me. In Houston, there were a lot more rookies and guys my age, but here in OKC, there are more veterans.
I have one rookie teammate, Perry Jones. That’s my man! I chill at his house and we eat together sometimes. He’s a cool dude, and since he and I are both rookies, I’m thankful we are going through our first season together. It’s nice that there’s another guy to look up when someone yells “Rook!” and somebody who else who has to do rookie chores.
Coach Brooks is a real good coach. He really pushes me and challenges me in practice. He has a good personality, and I like him as a coach and as a person.
It was tough learning the new system, the plays, defensive schemes and all that at first. It took some time to get used to, but I’ve been here a little while, so I’m getting used to it.
I am working as hard as I can. When the opportunity presents itself, I can come in the game and give my team a boost; play hard on defense, score, rebound.
Jeremy Lamb is a 6-foot-5 guard from the University of Connecticut. He was picked 12th overall by the Rockets in the 2012 NBA Draft, and traded to the Thunder on Oct. 27 in the deal that sent James Harden to Houston.
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