What my colleague Tim Kawakami first reported, that forward Al Harrington has asked to be traded, has now been confirmed. By Al Harrington.
I’ve been asking Al Harrington for more than a year to talk about his situation. He has refused. I have pleaded with him to share his concerns about his role on the team with Warriors fans (through me, of course) but he continued to decline because he didn’t want to be a distraction, he wanted to give it a chance to work out, etc.
Harrington made his frustrations with how he’s used by coach Don Nelson clear to open training camp. Now his tongue is unbridled. Unwilling to simmer in silence any more, Harrington acknowledged he has repeatedly asked for trades and doesn’t want to play for coach Don Nelson. Here is the interview he gave me tonight.
So what is it about playing for Don Nelson that has you fed up?
“I went through it all last year. It all started in the playoffs the year before. It wore on me, you know what I’m saying. I didn’t want to play for him. I told him that this summer. I told Mully that. I reiterated that again to Mully. I’ve told him twice since training camp has started that I don’t want to be here. I don’t think me and coach is going to work out, regardless of who’s playing, who’s not playing or whatever, because I feel like he uses me in certain ways and I don’t think that’s going to change. We all know how Nellie is. We all know his history. If you’re not one of his dudes, you ain’t never going to be one of his dudes. And that’s the truth.”
“Have I asked them to trade me? Yes I have. Plenty of times. All summer. Once a month. It never happened. I’m still here. Do I know what my future is? I don’t know. First game is tomorrow. We’re going to see what happens. But at the end of the day, if it’s like last year, then I can’t be here. And that’s for damn sure.”
Why now, the day before the season start, would you ask Mullin to trade you?
“I’ve been pissed off since that preseason game, the way he ended that game. He said he was going to coach it like he would the rest of the season, or for the first game of the season or whatever. I only played 17 minutes. That frustrated me and that put me in the mode from last year. But as far as if I planned on making this media rush right before the season started, no. It just got out and now I’m in a box. But when you ask me a question, I’m going to answer it and I’m going to answer it truly.”
When did you tell Nelly how you felt?
“I spoke to coach in August, I think. He said he’d been hearing that I was unhappy. He understood why. He knows why. C’mon, man. Everybody’s seen it. That’s the thing about it. At the end of the day, I don’t want people to think I’m selfish, like I’m trying to mess up the team. I’m just worried about me being the best player I can be, helping my team.”
What have you done to repair the relationship?
“I’m a very coachable guy. I’ve always been the guy who’s team-first. No coach that I’ve played for would say anything different or have anything bad to say about my character. I’m the type of guy that if a coach told me to run through the wall, I’ll do that. That’s just who I am. That’s what I’ve tried to do to change my situation for the whole time I’ve been here – always do whatever I can, whatever it takes for the team to win. Come of the bench. Shoot threes. Guarding fives. Whatever it takes. Keep the floor spaced. All of that. I’ve always tried to handle my differences with coach by doing whatever he asks me.”
“I spoke to coach the other day. We had a pretty decent talk. He said things will be different. Like I said, that’s just what he said. Do I believe it whole-heartedly? No.”
Where would you like to be traded?
“I got some options I might need to look at if things don’t change.”
If things do change, if you are used how you would like to be, would you want to stay?
“I’m all for it. Yes. Why not?”