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Thread: Dampier in his own words

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    Default Dampier in his own words

    One on one with Erick Dampier

    by Chris Navalta
    For the past seven years, center Erick Dampier has grown tiresome of listening to five different coaches while playing for the Golden State Warriors.

    Now, he's going to spend the summer listening to himself.

    Dampier has the chance to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent this offseason. And after putting together the best statistical year of his career, the man they call 'Damp' will definitely weigh out his options this summer.

    "I've wanted out for a while," Dampier said. "And I figured the only option to get out was to go and play hard. I worked hard over the summer. I worked really hard. (Former Warriors assistant coach) Clifford Ray was a big part of that. He was a big motivational factor for me. My family too. So, I just took it in stride, I went out, worked hard, and tried to make myself better. At the same time, I still wanted to try and help make the team better. I knew that if I played hard, some good things would happen for me."

    Last season, Dampier and the Warriors finished with 38 wins and were in playoff contention until the last week of the regular season. With the following season in mind -- along with possibly opting out of his contract -- Dampier dedicated last summer to the weightroom and the basketball court.

    Starting the season with nearly an entirely different team, along with Adonal Foyle on the injured list, it was Dampier's time to shine. Before he knew it, he was seeing plenty of double-double performances in the Warriors box score night after night.

    With the loss of nearly 60 percent of the team's offense in the offseason (Antawn Jamison and Gilbert Arenas), that put Dampier as the go-to guy inside the paint. And the decision to give him the ball more has paid dividends.

    "With Antawn and Gilbert being gone, that just opened up the door for a lot of other people," Dampier said. "That was the time for most people to step their game up and show what they're capable of. When Antawn was here, he commanded a lot of shots. So, we had to put him in the box in order for him to get shots. With Gilbert, he was able to get his offense going anytime because he had the ball in his hands 90 percent of the time. So with those two gone, I thought that really gave me the opportunity to step my game up and just go out and really play."

    Putting up the best numbers of his career, Dampier has been able to turn the heads of fans and media, who are now saying he is arguably in the top three among best centers in the powerhouse Western Conference. But for Dampier, he wasn't the least bit surprised by his performance.

    "It didn't surprise me at all," Dampier said. "I always thought that was something I was capable of doing. Over the last couple of years, it was just a matter of whether or not I was going to get the opportunities. I was preaching to the coach, I was preaching to the General Manager to just give me the opportunity -- at least some touches in the box -- so I could present a presence. Finally, Eric (Musselman) began to listen to me. He started throwing the ball to me a little bit more. I just now showed what I'm capable of doing."

    Dampier's season ended abruptly with just eight games to go when he injured his ankle in a road game against Toronto. Still, it was a satisfying season.

    "It was a good year," Dampier said. "At times, I felt I could have had better games. I think I'm capable of playing a lot better. I'm planning on going into the off-season and work extremely hard. I don't want people to say: 'Hey, Erick was playing hard just because it's his contract year'. That's not even the case. If you look at last year, I wasn't the system. But I was playing hard. For me, the biggest thing was to just come into this season and be consistent. I wanted to play hard. And I did the whole season."

    Dampier began his career in 1996, when he was drafted by the Indiana Pacers. After his rookie season, he was traded to the Warriors, along with Duane Ferrell, for Chris Mullin. Since then, he's seen five different coaches with five different philosophies (P.J. Carlesimo, Garry St. Jean, Dave Cowens, Brian Winters and Eric Musselman). The Warriors hadn't made the playoffs once during Dampier's tenure. And it didn't help that the frequent turnover held from flourishing his talents as a player.

    "When you have five or six different coaches (in seven years), the system changes. And when a new coach tries to implement their system, it's whether or not players buy into it. I learned a lot from all of those coaches. But it was just harder on us, going season after season not knowing the foundation for the team. Once we used on coach's system, another one came in. But that goes along with the business. The organization has to make changes."

    While he's seen plenty of changes within the Warriors organization, Dampier has also seen changes within himself -- physically and mentally.

    "I think I've evolved a lot," Dampier said. "I probably didn't work as hard back then as I do now. Because I've seen the rewards that follow if you go out and work hard. I think I play this game harder now because I'm here, I want to be comfortable around my surroundings and I want to be on a good team. I figured if I was going to get out of Golden State, the only was I was going to do that was to play my way out. And I just took that in stride over the summer. And I think it's very important that I keep working hard and improve my game. I think I'm definitely capable of playing a lot better. So, I'm going to go out and work hard this summer. And hopefully, I can take my game to another level."

    Dampier also credits Foyle, his closest friend and teammate, for his progress as a player. Both Dampier and Foyle are the longest-tenured Warriors and have been pretty much the only constant the team has had over the past seven years. And despite the two players competing for the same position, they have a mutual respect for each other.

    "You always want a good center behind you," Dampier said. "And I thought Adonal and myself complemented each other. We've been here for seven years, we're the best of friends and we both want each other to succeed. It's now getting to the point where he wants to start. So, who knows where we go from here? He's a great guy to play with. I wish I could have him on my team always. But he wants to be a starter and I want a chance to be an All-Star. Who knows where the future will take us?"

    Dampier should be taking advantage of the free agent market this summer. He'll be listening to offers from plenty of NBA teams that will be in dire need of a strong presence in the paint. Dampier hasn't put much thought as to where he'd like to play next year. But he has a pretty good idea what that team should have in order to lure him there.

    "I definitely want to play with a point guard, with a good shooting guard," Dampier said. "I wouldn't mind going to the East. I have a chance to be an All-Star there. I wouldn't say money is a factor. But hey, all of us want to be taken care of. I've been in the league for 7-8 years. So, I'm pretty much taken care of financially. So, I don't think money is a big issue. So, we'll see what happens. There are going to be some doors that's going to open up for me. There may be some possible sign-and-trades. It'll just be a matter of whether or not the Warriors are willing to do it."

    Dampier has also dedicated himself to community service. Back in his hometown of Jackson, Ms., he built the Erick Dampier Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps children's dreams come true.

    "I started the Erick Dampier Foundation about two years ago," he said. "We help underprivileged kinds go to camps all around the world. We're doing a lot in the community now. We're trying to find a place in my hometown to house the Erick Dampier Foundation. I want to go back home and build a boys and girls club. We're just trying to help the youth. It's my way of giving back. I feel if I can change just one kid's life, put a smile on one kid's face, I'll feel like I did a good deed."

    For more information on the Erick Dampier Foundation go to www.erickdampier.org

    http://www.adonalfoyle.com/the_game3.shtml
    ---

    Do ya feel lucky, punk?

  2. #2
    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    If Larry offers him the MLE, and he says OK, I certainly won't complain.

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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    But what are the chances of the Pacers offering the MLE?

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    Wasting Light Hicks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    But what are the chances of the Pacers offering the MLE?
    Oh, probably slim to none unless we've already made some kind of trade to give us a bit of $$$, or we trade for him via sign-and-trade with GS.

    Maybe if Al demands a trade this summer (I'm not saying I think he will or will not), they'd take Al.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    But what are the chances of the Pacers offering the MLE?
    Oh, probably slim to none unless we've already made some kind of trade to give us a bit of $$$, or we trade for him via sign-and-trade with GS.

    Maybe if Al demands a trade this summer (I'm not saying I think he will or will not), they'd take Al.
    Maybe we can get another guard out of that too.

    But here's to Al staying here FOREVER
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    Maybe if Al demands a trade this summer (I'm not saying I think he will or will not), they'd take Al.
    I'm sure Al would be attractive. But that would mean taking Pollard also. Unless Foster and change are available too.

    I'm trying to think realistically about this. Of course, GS has been known to get screwed before too.

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    Offical Thread Killer TheSauceMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    I would love to see Dampier in a Pacers uniform next year

  8. #8

    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    If we let KA and Brewer walk, and let's say Brezec get selected in the expansion draft...would that leave enough room for the MLE? Not sure, just hoping someone out there knows...
    WE ARE NOT GETTING ERIC GORDON

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    Offical Thread Killer TheSauceMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    isn't the salary cap bigger next year than it was this year ?

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    If we let KA and Brewer walk, and let's say Brezec get selected in the expansion draft...would that leave enough room for the MLE? Not sure, just hoping someone out there knows...

    MID-LEVEL SALARY EXCEPTION -- This exception is also called the "Middle Class Exception." This exception says that a team can offer any player a contract equal to the average NBA salary every year, even if they are over the cap. This exception is new to the current CBA, and was "ramped up" to the average salary over a period of four years Here is the value of the mid-level salary exception for each year of the CBA:

    98-99 $1.75 million
    99-00 $2.00 million
    00-01 $2.25 million
    01-02 $4,538,000
    02-03 $4,546,000
    03-04 $4,917,000



    This exception may be split and given to multiple players. It may be used for contracts of up to six years in length. Signing a player to a multi-year contract does not affect a team's ability to use this exception every year. For example, a team can sign a player to a six-year contract using this exception and still use the exception the following year to sign another player.

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    Offical Thread Killer TheSauceMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    isn't the salary cap bigger next year than it was this year ?
    I'm pretty sure the Commisioners office announced recently the salary cap would actually be slightly smaller next year, but there's always a chance I've been and just completely made that up.

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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    Free agents after this season:
    Jamison Brewer 638,679
    Kenny Anderson 1,070,000
    James Jones 366,931

    Player options after this season:
    Anthony Johnson 814, 679

    Players that the Bobcats might claim:
    Primoz Brezec 861,600

    Possible retirees after this season:
    Reggie Miller est. 5,000,000

    Kenny will walk. He wants to play and he can't be satisfied with the court time he's received the last half of the season. 1,070,000 trimmed.

    At this time, that's about the only player that I'd be certain will not be here next season. And that means that either the Pacers will be satisfied with a re-signed Brewer as the third PG, will begin giving Freddie more minutes at PG in the PG portion of his combo-guard role, or they will have to sign an additional PG. And that evem assumes that AJ will not opt out.

    I think it would be great to have Dampier, especially if he were willing to sign to the MLE (which I doubt). But if Reggie retires, we will still be in bad need of another guard with perimeter shooting abilities.

    So, to go after Dampier while possibly also having to acquire a decent shooting guard or even a point guard would most certainly require trading one or two players, even with the MLE available this summer.

    If we lose a couple of free agents, maybe a player to the Bobcats, and especially if Reggie retires, this summer will be very interesting for the Pacers.

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    Offical Thread Killer TheSauceMaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    isn't the salary cap bigger next year than it was this year ?
    It's compilcated and depends on Basketball related income for the present year. So it won't be determined until after the season is over.
    I'm fairly sure that the Commish office just announced the cap would be down, and luxury taxes would be kicking in recently. There was a big uproar about it, at least in terms of the luxury tax because some people refused to believe that it was going to kick in. But maybe I'm dreaming. It's very possible.

    PS- Will, I was joking in the Bonds thread. I guess I didn't use any smileys, so it was hard to tell. Sorry.

  14. #14
    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words


    PS- Will, I was joking in the Bonds thread. I guess I didn't use any smileys, so it was hard to tell. Sorry.
    Oh okay, no problem! I thought you were getting upset so I just do what I always do and quit the thread. I'm not here to upset people.

    Have a banana!

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    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    isn't the salary cap bigger next year than it was this year ?
    It's compilcated and depends on Basketball related income for the present year. So it won't be determined until after the season is over.

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    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    Ok, I try not to let my profession (editor) run my life. But this is crazy. Who let this writer submit this crap?

    For the past seven years, center Erick Dampier has grown tiresome of listening to five different coaches while playing for the Golden State Warriors.
    That's just an embarrassment to journalism. Grown tiresome? Break out your frickin dictionary, buddy.
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    That's just an embarrassment to journalism. Grown tiresome? Break out your frickin dictionary, buddy.
    Irregardlessly of having grown tiresome...

  18. #18
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    That's just an embarrassment to journalism. Grown tiresome? Break out your frickin dictionary, buddy.
    Irregardlessly of having grown tiresome...
    You think your funny, but your not.
    Welcome to Pacers Digest! New around here? Here are three tips for making the forum a great place to talk about Pacers basketball.

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    Administrator Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    Do people honestly beleive that Eric Dampier will sign for the mid-level exception?????

    I know you will all laugh but he is going to have contracts thrown at him around what Brad Miller had thrown at him. Hell, maybe higher considering he put up such good numbers in the west.

    He's not old, but his body is, so he only has a few years left in the league to make the big payday.


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    Tree People to the Core! indygeezer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    Do people honestly beleive that Eric Dampier will sign for the mid-level exception?????

    I know you will all laugh but he is going to have contracts thrown at him around what Brad Miller had thrown at him. Hell, maybe higher considering he put up such good numbers in the west.

    He's not old, but his body is, so he only has a few years left in the league to make the big payday.
    I expect Miami to make a major push for Damp, the Knicks have 0 options in getting him except to get the fans worked up and then not be able to. P's??? Maybe if thhings can be worked out...but I think DW will be happy to take this team and let them continue growing together. At least until somebody proves that they can no longer compete. He has a young group locked in with favorable contracts. He basically knows what his salary structure looks like for the next few years. HE'll only need minnor tweeks to maintain his salry scale.

    Peck is right...you saw what BM got? EVERY legit C in the league is going after that now and nobody will be happy with Kandiman type money anymore.
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    Well I guess Damp might have to make a choice , does he want this or lots of

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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    First, I HIGHLY doubt if Dampier opts out. He's due to make 8.1 million next year. Brad Miller's deal started at 7.1. Rasho and Kandiman signed for the MLE. If he expects someone to sign him where he'll start with a raise, he's crazy.

    I do think G-S will look at trades. Do you want to trade Harrington & Foster for him? That's about what it'd take.

    I fully expect the Knicks to offer Kurt Thomas. In fact, I'll be shocked if they don't.

    If he does opt out, Utah will make a huge play for him.
    The poster formerly known as Rimfire

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    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    First, I HIGHLY doubt if Dampier opts out. He's due to make 8.1 million next year. Brad Miller's deal started at 7.1. Rasho and Kandiman signed for the MLE. If he expects someone to sign him where he'll start with a raise, he's crazy.

    I do think G-S will look at trades. Do you want to trade Harrington & Foster for him? That's about what it'd take.

    I fully expect the Knicks to offer Kurt Thomas. In fact, I'll be shocked if they don't.

    If he does opt out, Utah will make a huge play for him.
    If the Knicks offer KT, is Muhammad available? I'd take him off your hands.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


  24. #24
    Tim
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    Pacers will not make a run at Damp.

    The reason is in his own words. He admits he didn't work hard.

    Why to do you think the Pacers traded away a legit big center in the first place?

    Larry wanted him gone and will not take him back, you know how Larry is, he values people that work hard in practice over talent and size.

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    Administrator/ The Real Jay ChicagoJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dampier in his own words

    Larry wanted him gone and will not take him back, you know how Larry is, he values people that work hard in practice over talent and size.

    I thought that was the "other" Larry. IMO, this Larry values "winners" more than anything else. Which, incidently, also could exclude Dampier.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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