Foye hoping to shine with Clippers
For once, Randy Foye had a choice about where he'd be playing basketball next season.
Foye has only been in the NBA for four seasons and, now that he's signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, he's already been a member of five teams.
Foye was drafted seventh overall by the Boston Celtics in 2006, but was traded to both Portland and Minnesota by the end of the night, and traded again right before the 2009 draft to the Washington Wizards.
When the Wizards won the lottery and the right to pick Kentucky guard John Wall, Foye knew he'd probably have to find a new home. Only this time, it'd be his choice.
"You know," Foye said in a telephone interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com this week, "I was just looking for a place I could shine."
Foye said that he had more lucrative offers than the two-year, $8.5 million contract he signed with the Clippers last week, but he chose Los Angeles' offer because he believed he'd finally get a real chance to play meaningful minutes and show why he was a lottery pick out of Villanova in the first place.
"I had a couple options where money was better but I chose the Clippers because after speaking with GM Neil Olshey and the coach [the recently hired Vinny Del Negro] I knew the situation would be good for me," he said.
"I wasn't worried about the money, I was just wanting some place I could shine."
Foye seemed to be on that path just a few years ago when he averaged 16.3 points and 4.3 assists for the Timberwolves in 35.6 minutes per game. But when the team changed directions after the season with a new coach and general manger, he became expendable.
The Timberwolves were enamored with Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio and Syracuse's Jonny Flynn, making Foye the odd guard out. He was shipped to Washington along with Mike Miller in exchange for the No. 5 pick in the draft.
In Washington, Foye struggled to find a consistent role in the rotation. His playing time was cut by a third and he averaged only 10.1 points per game.
"I don't really know why my time was cut," he said. "But I just tried to handle everything like a professional."
Olshey has watched Foye's career with interest from afar over the years, but he said the tipping point in the Clippers' decision to sign him this offseason actually came from conversations the team had with Miller, who played with Foye in Washington and Minnesota.
I wasn't worried about the money, I was just wanting some place I could shine.” -- Newly-acquired Clippers
guard Randy Foye
"During our interview with Mike [on July 3], he was the one saying, 'hey look, if you need a guy to get buckets off the bench, that's Randy.'
"I think the biggest thing for Randy is, we signed Randy to do what he does. We're not going to try to make him anything he's not. He is a big-time scorer off the bench that can score out of pick and rolls. He's efficient with it; he's got one of the best efficiencies in terms of scoring out of pick-and-rolls of any point guard in the league. That's what we need.
"When he got minutes [in Washington] he played well. But it was a difficult season there with all the extracurricular stuff going on."
Foye had knee surgery after the season, but said he'll be at full speed by training camp. He's working out this summer at his home in Newark, New Jersey.
"It was just a little scope in there, a little cleaning, nothing major," he said of his knee surgery. "I'm already back shooting and conditioning. But I'm not going to rush now. I've still got two months until I need to be ready."
Whatever role it becomes, Foye is fine with it. For once, his destiny was in his hands.
"I still think with my game I bring a lot to the table," he said "You've just got to be surrounded by the right environment and I'm excited about this one."
Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com