WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nene really tried hard not to bite when asked about why the Denver Nuggets traded him to the Washington Wizards. In fact, when I asked him point blank how he first found out he had been traded, his answer was brief.
"You don't want to know," he said.
Well then. So much for pursuing that angle.
"It was crazy. It was tough," he said earlier. "I don't like to mention much because I still have no clue what happened. I trust my Lord, I trust my God. He put me here, and I know when He traded me to somewhere [like this], it's for better things."
References to a higher power were rampant in Nene's first press conference. In fact, here's how he began.
"It's great. I was a little scared a couple days ago, but I understand God had a plan, and the plan is to be here. I'm going to do my best. That's all I can promise. Do anything possible to help the team, help the young guys, to do what is asked of me and be happy," he said.
"Making a new life" was how he phrased it, and that's certainly going to be the case here. Keep in mind that Nene has spent his entire career in Denver. It's the only place he's known. Now, he's finding himself occupying a very different role with a very different kind of team.
"We have the veterans. Now, we need to help the young players read the game," he said. "They have the talent. Now, they need to read [the game], pace themselves a little bit and understand a little more about the game. We'll be fine."
For now, Nene appears to be embracing the challenge. Like Ronny Turiaf, who was just dealt, he seems like someone who just rolls with the punches. Then again, given how he was dumped by his former team, he doesn't really have a choice.
"I know it's a business. I know it's a dirty business," he said of reports that the Nuggets had "buyers remorse" with his contract. "But I trust my Lord. I trust my God. I know I will be successful wherever I go. That's all I can say."
- I asked Nene how he'd compare John Wall and Ty Lawson, his point guard in Denver. "The only thing is when Ty makes a layup, [John] can dunk," he said.
- Nene said he felt this team was "almost there," but just have to "understand a little bit more of the game."
- Amid talk that he may be angling for a buyout, Brian Cook deflected most questions. "Right now, I'm going to worry about being a professional, coming in and working hard with this team. I'm with the Washington Wizards right now, and I'm going to be a professional." When asked again about his future, Cook said, "Right now, I'm a Washington Wizard, and it'll be good." There's a lot of "right now" in those statements.
- Edwin Ubiles on what skills he brings to the table: "I think I can get up and down. John Wall pushes the ball a lot, so I get into the open court. I've got athleticism. I can slash to the basket. I can defend. [I can] be active on defense, put the ball on the floor, good mid-range game. I kind of bring a little bit of everything to this team."