NEWARK Without knowing whether the University of Kentucky offers classes in international diplomacy, it seems that Keith Bogans is an expert. The veteran shooting guard took the high road when discussing his December release from the Bulls, though it was hard not to notice his frustration.
It was tough. Right now, Im at that point where I dont really care to talk about it anymore. Its a learning experience for me. I just looked at as Im going to turn it into a positive, make me work my expletive off and thats what I did. It was fun playing with them last year, but as far as that, Im done with it, Bogans said Monday evening at his new home arena, the Prudential Center.
I had a great time. I wouldnt trade it for the world. Won, what, 62 games, went to the Eastern Conference Finals, one of the best years of my NBA career. Definitely wouldnt take anything from that. Thats one of the best things to happen to me, last year.
I stay in contact with everybody on that team. All those guys hit me up, wanting to know How and why, and I cant answer that. I still cant answer that. when I signed, I got a call from all of them, congratulating me, saying Finally, and they were just happy to see me back playing again because nobody understood what happened, continued Bogans, who was pulled off the Berto Center floor on the first day of training camp, after being led to believe that he would return to the Bulls, who he didnt mention by name.
It is what it is. I dont keep up with them. Ive got a new team now. This is who I represent. It was Chicago last year. When youre in this business and you move around like I do, you get used to it. Put it behind you and move on.
But when asked if he felt disrespected by his former team, the current New Jersey Net let down the faade a bit.
Who wouldnt? Come on, were all men here first, he said. Were men before basketball players. I dont want to say the wrong thing, so Im going to be quiet and just let it go.
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, who also coached Bogans in Houston, praised his former player.
Keiths Keith. He does his job every night. Hes going to play great defense, said Thibodeau. Hes going to knock down open threes, brings a lot of toughness to the team and he fits in to what theyre doing.
Though Bogans wouldnt pretend the struggling Nets are a better situation than a title-contending Bulls squad, he has taken some positives out of the situation.
Its a new team for me. Im going forward. Im not looking back. Good young team, trying to rebuild and Im here to help the young guys get better, he said. I can bring a lot. I bring experience. One of the older guys in this locker room again, so Im teaching young guys. Its fun for me.
"Im not going to put any pressure on myself that Ive got to do this against them or do that. Im just trying to learn this system and get back in shape. Those are two main things that Im trying to do right now, continued Bogans, who wouldnt offer up any predictions for Mondays game though his facial expression spoke volumes about his new role. Im just happy to be back playing ball after sitting at home for a month-and-a-half, not knowing. To me, its a blessing that I got another opportunity to come here and play."