The immediate disappointment was that he could not play Friday night. Kevin Seraphin, now with the New York Knicks, said he was looking forward to playing the Washington Wizards, his former team. A sore knee, an irritation Seraphin said is no big deal, prevented him from being on the floor in Washington’s second preseason game.
So, he sat on the bench and watched the team that traded for him from the Chicago Bulls in the 2010 draft. The view was similar and foreign. Seraphin averaged just 16.4 minutes per game with the Wizards, making him accustomed to watching from a seat. That the seat was on the other side of the court, with a team that runs the triangle offense, made the evening odd for Seraphin.
“Everything is so different,” Seraphin said. “For sure it’s different, but, you know, live with it.”
Wizards coach Randy Wittman said Friday they would have welcomed Seraphin back. Seraphin said he and his agent left the door open to return, but decided New York was a “better opportunity.” He thinks he will play for the Knicks, which has become a wheezing franchise despite its lore. Seraphin signed a one-year, $2.814 million deal with New York. He can be a free agent again next offseason.
Seraphin would not label his first adventure through summer uncertainty as fun or nerve-wracking.
“It’s different,” Seraphin said. “It was just different. I’ve never been in this kind of situation.”
There were flashes during his time in Washington. Seraphin’s power earned him the nickname “Beast” from Paul Pierce. His mid-range jumpshot is functional and jump hook potentially devastating. His defense was his hole, especially as the help against screens.
Wittman’s cantankerous style also hit home for Seraphin. Asked if Wittman was too hard him, Seraphin smirked.
“Sometimes,” Seraphin said. “But, that’s his way to be. He wasn’t only that way for me. He’s like that with everyone, pretty much. Once you start to get to know him … I felt like, ‘What’s wrong?’ You get to know him, you just know that that’s his way to coach. He’s like Nene. He’ll always be mad. You just get it. Every practice, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ But, it’s the same thing. He’s just playing mad.”
Seraphin said he felt he did what was asked in Washington. He also understood that Nene and Marcin Gortat were quality big men in front of him. Once the Wizards began to play smaller lineups in the playoffs, Nene ostensibly became the backup center, leaving Seraphin with a minimal role on the team.
“I had two really good guys in front of me,” Seraphin said. “The goal was to go to the playoffs. I’m not mad at all.”
Seraphin’s chance to play is a daily discussion because of his knee. Knicks coach Derek Fisher noted Seraphin’s offense when asked about him before Friday night’s game and went on to say his defense needs work. After five years, he’s in a new town with much of the same agenda.
“I knew one day it would happen,” Seraphin said. “It’s part of the business. Only John [Wall] is guaranteed here for life. I knew would it happen. For sure [he would have come back], if I had a chance to sign up for the long-term and had a chance to really play constantly … I was always in here, always comfortable. But, that’s the business. That’s why you can’t be too emotional.”