The Philadelphia 76ers now have two days in Los Angeles, playing the Lakers on Friday night, so perhaps former Jazzman Gordan Giricek can talk to the Lakers' former Jazzman, Derek Fisher, about getting booed every time either of them touched the ball in EnergySolutions Arena.
Just five days after he was traded with a conditional first-round draft choice by the Jazz to Philadelphia for Kyle Korver, Giricek was back in ESA, surprised at the crowd's response as was Fisher when he was booed here on Nov. 30.
But, like Fisher and like he has for the past week, ever since he was reinstated by the Jazz after missing three games, sent home from a road trip by coach Jerry Sloan and then traded two days after reinstatement Giricek had only nice things to say, even about being booed during Utah's 110-107 win.
"Oh, you know what? That's the easiest thing that somebody boo me," said the Croatian, who spent three-plus seasons with Utah. "Like I said, I played in worse atmosphere than this. It's nothing. It was fun.
"Honestly, I didn't (expect it), but you know, it's always good. I like playing in this atmosphere. It gives you, like, (your) adrenaline goes up, at least for myself, and it gives you more a bigger momentum to just play well."
Korver had a bigger impact on Wednesday's game with 12 points including five of six free throws in the final 26 seconds. Giricek played 12:41 minutes and shot 1-for-3 for four points with one rebound, a steal and a turnover.
Giricek said that, since he hadn't played much lately, his legs didn't feel connected with his body or jump shots, and he's still learning Sixer plays. "When they call (a play's) name, it's very hard for me to connect name with actual movements, but point guards doing great job directing," Giricek said.
At Wednesday's shootaround, Giricek was asked what kind of welcome he expected. "Even if they boo me or something, which I see no reason to do that, I'm going to respect that," he said. "No hard feelings. They're just fans. Fans are going to cheer for their team."
About the worst thing Giricek said all day was that now that he's with the 76ers, he has more freedom to choose the size of his practice jersey and shorts his outfit for Wednesday's shootaround was baggier than his Jazz practice uniform by his own choice and, after the shootaround, "now I see that the rims are pretty hard."
He didn't even get riled about the hard foul that former teammate Memo Okur laid on him. "It's OK. That's the way the Jazz always play, right?" he said, "So it's OK. I'm just sorry I didn't make both free throws."
He would not touch on the situation of the past few months that finally got him traded. He had asked for a trade earlier in the season and, in Sloan's opinion, talked to the media about some of his displeasure and then was sent home from the road trip and missed three games. He was reinstated last Thursday, with the trade completed Saturday morning.
"We should leave some things that happened before on the side," he said. "That's past tense, and we should treat it as past tense. This is a new chapter for me, and that's it.
"I really don't want to talk about it," he said of his meeting with Sloan and general manager Kevin O'Connor last Thursday that led to his reinstatement. "I don't want to be mean, but there's no point in it. We should leave it at that. That's water under the bridge."
Just as Sloan said that he wishes Giricek nothing but the best from now on. Giricek said the same for Sloan.
"I have always respect for authorities, and I wish him the best, and I wish the whole Jazz organization the best. Because we split our ways doesn't mean that we hate each other, right?" said Giricek.
Somewhat oddly, when the Sixers got to their Salt Lake hotel Tuesday night, Korver was standing in the lobby in his new Jazz sweats to greet them, and Giricek was one of the first off the bus."Oh, I said hi to him. That's business, right? Part of the business," Giricek said. "He's not used to it maybe this is his first trade. I was traded twice, this is the third time, so I'm used to it. But I think he understands that it's no hard feelings whatsoever. He probably likes also being here, so I think it's good for both of us."
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