It's not normal for a throng of media to be assembled for a visiting team's shootaround on the morning of games, but there were a lot on hand at the Wells Fargo Center this morning when Andre Iguodala and the Nuggets opened their practice.
Iguodala seemed excited to be back to the place where he spent eight seasons, noting that he's been concentrating more on getting to know his teammates than thinking about his return here. Here are some snippets of what he had to say:
On whether tonight will be emotional for him:
"I think it's different only because it's the first game. The dynamics change a little bit as far as being focused on our team and seeing where were at and trying to get a gauge on what we need to work on, our weaknesses and our strengths. If it was January or February and I was accustomed to our team already I would have the chance to enjoy coming back a little bit more. I've really just been thinking about the team and how we perform. It's our first game. I'm trying to figure out where we are as a team. As soon as I got traded and got to Denver every day I've been thinking about how to be a better player and how to make my teammates better. I really haven't had the chance to grasp what I did here."
On what he'll be thinking about when he steps onto the court:
"I'm focused on just trying to get this team to the next level. We have a young cast and they need my leadership and need me to be tuned in every single night. I'm really just focused on how our team starts."
On the video tribute planned for him at the first timeout:
"I'm still close to a lot of guys here, still have a lot of close friends. Someone let me know about it. That's the only think I've really thought about - how do I react during the timeout. Do I stop paying attention to the play being drawn up? When it happens we'll see how it goes."
On his thoughts about possibly being booed, as Jrue Holiday said might happen:
"Jrue's a pretty smart guy. Went to Campbell Hall, a very prestigious school in the valley of California so I think he does a pretty good job of guaging people in general. You never know how you are going to be received. It could go both ways. They are very passionate fans. I've gotten some pretty good fan mail and some pretty bad fan mail.
On how it played out in London at the Olympics when he found out he was going to be traded:
"I kind of heard rumors going on. I was with Jrue the day before. We were watching his fiance (soccer player Lauren Cheney) play, I was at the game and we talked about it a little bit. It happened the next day and we (men's Olympic team) had a game so I just tried to concentrate on what I was trying to get accomplished with the team."
On what tonight will be like with two teams that like to run:
"It will be a fun game. I'm just really looking forward to stepping onto the court. It's my ninth year, ninth opening game. The younger guys are really excited so hopefully we can get them to relax and just go out there and play basketball."
On whether he was relieved to be traded by the Sixers:
"I wouldn't say it was relief, you just have to roll with the punches and play the cards your dealt. I'm just looking for a new challenge and a new chapter. I didn't have any negative thoughts or any animosity towards the fans here. They were great. They'll still be passionate and committed to their team. That's how it should be."
On how he sees the Sixers this season:
"Based upon preseason games they play similar to how George Karl wants us to play by moving the ball up and down with Bynum out. They have some great shooters in Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson has shot the ball well this preseason. Nick Young is probably one of the best shot makers in the league. Jrue is right there as for getting to the next level. I've always been a fan of his. I've always said he'll be one of the elite point guards and he's almost there, he's right there. He's playing with a lot of confidence, as well."
Final thoughts on Philadelphia:
"This organization gave me the opportunity to fill a lifelong dream and what better place to do it in and grown in. This town is very passionate and you know every night you have to come out and play hard. You really can't relax and I built good habits for myself. That work ethic was instilled in me, being in a rough and rugged city. You hear a lot of negative things when you say those words but the way that I looked at it it kind of helped me to keep grinding every day to try to get better."