With the seasons of both the Nets and Mavericks officially over, it was only a matter of time before talk of Deron Williams’ plans for free agency really started to heat up. The trendy prediction is that Deron will indeed be in a Dallas Mavericks uniform when he takes the court for the 2012-2013 NBA season, and while that may very well end up being the case, I have to question what all these sportswriters, bloggers, Texans, and various others with something to say on the matter have been basing their opinions off of.
If you follow Deron Williams’ career at all then you should know that he is a no-nonsense type of guy. This is a refreshing and rare characteristic amongst superstar athletes in this day and age. Think about two other superstars that have went through a season of speculation surrounding their pending free agency and/or trade requests they were said to have made in private. I am of course referring to Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.
Dwight wanted so badly to keep his positive image and reputation in tact, but at the same time he wanted to be traded to the New Jersey (Now Brooklyn!) Nets to team up with his friend Deron Williams. How could he pull that off and still be adored by the fans? Is it even possible? I think it is in a way, but he certainly went about things the wrong way and it blew up in his face big time. Fans that have a passion for their teams are not always stupid, a lot of them are quite intelligent actually. To think that you can fool them with your vague, rehearsed answers to beat writers questions is a bit insulting to some. Much like how many of us can see how a politician (Ahem! Romney…) dodges a question with his answer, we can see how an athlete dodges questions about his trade request or other off the court issues. This, in turn, has the opposite effect of his intended purpose because we now know that he definitely did request that trade and we can now believe many of the things we are reading about him. Dwight Howard has now severely tarnished his once stellar public image. When the Dwightmare began, he wanted to make sure he went about things differently than Carmelo so he could avoid making himself look like a villain too. Carmelo should send him a “Thank you” note for shifting the negative glare of the public eye off of him so quickly.
Oh, Carmelo Anthony, how things have changed so drastically for you over the past 2 years. After your trade demand you were bombarded with questions about it wherever you went. You always answered like a politician and we always saw right through you. Lucky for you, Dwight Howard came along and eclipsed your villain status. Not that you were at Lebron’s level, but still.
There is a good reason why there was no huge circus surrounding D-Will this year. If you compare the way he handles himself to the way in which the other two superstars I just discussed have handled their business, it becomes quite clear. Deron does not shy away from those tough questions, but he’ll let you know that nothing is written in stone and if the Nets want to keep him they had better convince him that they are serious about winning and put some players around him. Most other players in his position probably would have said something like “I don’t want to think that far ahead. All I care about is that I am here in (Insert city) right now and I am gonna go out there and try to win every game for this team.” Sound familiar?
So, while the rumor mill churns out “Deron to Dallas” drivel, I figured it might be worth compiling a list of actual quotes that have come straight from Deron’s own mouth so people can analyze his words and form their own opinion on how this thing might play out instead of jumping on the bandwagon of the national sports media and their anti-Nets bias. After all, Deron once said that unless you hear something from his mouth, you shouldn’t believe it. Enjoy…
The following is a transcript from the press conference that took place as the Nets cleaned out their lockers in Jersey for the last time. I gotta give a big shout out to the fabulous NetsDaily.com site for originally posting this:
Thursday’s Cleanout Day Press Conference
Injuries? It’s alright. It’s good.
Surgeries or anything? Nope. No surgery that I know of.
Not really. The season just ended yesterday. We have time, playoffs. A lot of stuff is going to happen. Just take my time. But I don’t want to take too much time. I want to try to have something done by the Olympics.
Good that it is finally here?
It’s good that I don’t have to answer questions about it. That would be the biggest thing for me.
Why the Olympics?
Because I don’t want to play in the Olympics without a contract.
Biggest criteria in terms of where u decide u want to play?
I want to win. That’s first and foremost. I want to go where I feel we have the best chance to win. I know we might not win a championship in the first year or 2, but hopefully as the chances of building something special and have flexibility and somewhere where I believe they’re headed in the right direction.
Picture yourself in Brooklyn?
Definitely. Definitely. I’m still looking at all the possibilities here. I went to the arena a couple days ago and saw how it was and it’s going to be an exciting arena, a great place to play, and I’ve always been confident in this organization. Even though I was opting out I never said I wasn’t re-signing with the Nets and that’s still remains the same.
The big small market doesn’t really matter to me. I just want to win. That’s not going to determine where I go or not. There’s some cities that I don’t want to live in, so that definitely plays a part.
Thoughts on this wild and zany season?
It’s just been difficult for this organization for everybody involved. As players, we had high hopes for making the playoffs. We felt that if we have had everybody out there we would have had a playoff team. We just really never got a chance to have everybody together. It was just injury after injury. We lost guys to season ending injuries. We had nagging injuries where guys were missing games here and there. We just really didn’t get a chance to see us at full strength.
Things that can happen between now and free agency?
All that. That’s why I still can’t – what you said, I’m anxious, but there’s so much that can happen between now and free agency. Even the free agents that are available. I’m just going to continue to work out here and look at my options.
Lowest point of the season?
Just a lot of ups and downs I think throughout the season and losing definitely does take its toll and you start going on eight game losing streaks. That’s not fun. I don’t think it was fun for anybody.
Free agents with veteran experience?
Yeah, we have to get some veterans, guys that know how to play the game of basketball, make the right plays, extra passes. That was the most frustrating thing about this year was the lack of ball movement, lack of screens, just really some good basketball players. We need to get a lot of those.
Know Gerald Wallace?
I didn’t know him on a personal level, but I always liked him as a player. .I thought we played a lot better and than he ended up getting hurt so definitely helped this team. I think he could be a great piece for us to have in the future. He’s in the same situation as me. I don’t know what he’s going to do as far as opting out, but he could definitely help this team. He knows how to play basketball. He’s a veteran. He plays multiple positions. He guards multiple positions so he’s definitely somebody I think we should definitely keep around and build.
Lot of guys waiting to see what you do, put pressure on you?
I’m waiting to see what they do too. .LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh, they signed on the same day, I think.
Here for the lows, to want to be around for the highs?
Yeah, definitely, it would be great to be a part of that first game, that first team there, kind of start our own legacy in Brooklyn. So that’s definitely enticing. That’s definitely something I think about on a regular basis.
Any free agents you’d like to play with?
I’d have to look at the list. I’m not sure. But there are some.
Your thoughts at season’s end?
It’s just so tough once you know you’re out of the playoffs. Just to remain focused and having the same energy and intensity night-in, night-out. You still want to win games, you want to compete, but it starts wearing on you. I think it once you get to the last day it’s almost like the last day of school. It’s just like, alright, is it going to be here. So now we can focus on the future and see what a lot of us have in store.
It’s going to be a totally different team next year, I think.
Is it exciting for you, free agency?
It’s definitely exciting. But I’m obviously a guy that doesn’t like uncertainty, I like knowing what I’m going to do, so, the quicker I know, the better it’ll be for me.
You said you’re going to be around here until your kids are out of school?
Where is offseason home for you?
I just sold my house in San Diego, so this is going to be my home until I figure out where I’m playing.
Do you have a list, personally, of some teams you’re thinking about possibly going to?
Possibly, I do. [laughter] I’m not gonna tell you though.
Family comfortable with the area?
Yeah, they like it. They definitely like it. I like living in the city, my kids enjoy their school, so they’re excited about living here.
I’ll watch a couple games.
Do you root for teams?
I root more for just like my friends that are playing, not so much teams. There’s teams I don’t like that I’m gonna root against, I hope they lose. [laughter] But I just watch — it’s an exciting time. Watch and wish I was out there.
How has your adjustment to NY media been?
There’s just as much media in Utah. We’re not the Knicks, so we haven’t had just like rooms filled — there’s this much media every day in Utah. A lot of times there’s more media.
On a regular basis, yeah.
You like the media?
Do I need to answer that question? [laughter] If I could go every day and not talk, I’d be happy.
Were we that bad?
No, no. It’s not you, it’s more about me. [laughter]
It’s not you, it’s me???
You’ve never been told that before? [laughter]
Frustrating that the team hasn’t been fully healthy since you arrived?
Yeah, but I know. I kind of have a feeling of where we would have been this year if we would have had everybody healthy. So it’s not like that really weighs on my decision. It’s more going forward. So, yeah.
If everybody had been healthy, is team on championship track?
I wouldn’t go that far. No, I think we still need some more pieces. We would have had, like I said, a playoff team. But championship, that’s another level and I think we need more veteran guys for that to happen. There’s not a lot of teams that win championships with rookies starting and things like that.
Long year, olympics, worried that it’s too much basketball.
No, I’m gonna take some time off from basketball right now. I’m going to continue to work out in the weight room, but I’m going to take some time off from the gym, but I don’t think it’s too much.
When does that start?
I think it’s the beginning of July.
Anything you’re going to miss about playing in New Jersey?
Can you talk about Dallas’ obvious interest in you?
I don’t know if they’re interested in me. I haven’t talked to anybody from there. That would be illegal. Tampering.
Reading between the lines?
I don’t know why everybody just throws Dallas out there like they’re heard something from me. I don’t know.
What do you think about playing in your hometown, potentially?
I don’t think about it. I’m going to play this season out and after that look at my options [laughter].
How often to you and Billy King talk about your future here?
We talk a lot, me and Billy have a lot of conversations. I don’t know how often, maybe a couple times a week? But we’re always talking. We just talked before I came here, that’s why I came here. You know what he said?
Someone cuts Deron off: Don’t tell us anything.
No, we just have an understanding.
When you went to Brooklyn, was it Billy?
He asked me if I wanted to go. And me and Jordan went to check it out. I usually don’t like seeing unfinished projects. When I’m looking at houses, I don’t like looking at houses that aren’t finished, because I can’t really picture. But he was like, ‘Just come see it.’ You can kind of picture how it’s going to be — I mean, they’ve got seats in there now and it’s starting to come into shape. So you can definitely tell, the locker room where it’s going to be — picked out my locker for next year. [laughter]
Was it the visiting locker room? [laughter]
I didn’t go in the visiting locker room.
Isn’t that kind of the same thing with the Nets though, unfinished project?
Yes, but is there really a perfect situation out there? You know, it’s just where I feel the most comfortable at the end of the day, where I feel I have the best chance to win and enjoy the city and my family’s comfortable.
I’ve met him before, we’ve had several conversations. It was a good meeting.
Does he factor in this?
Yeah, I definitely think the owner definitely factors in. I’m going to go somewhere where they’re gonna be willing to spend money and get guys and I think he’s committed to that and committed to winning.
Do you feel like you still need to be courted by Nets or you have enough info?
Not really. I don’t really think I need to be courted by anybody, you know as far as that’s concerned. I just want to hear what people have to say. You know, I’ll make my own decision, I’m my own man, so I’m going to make my own decision I feel is best for me.
not. I don’t know. I’ve never done it before. I’ve got to sit down with my agent first, we’ve gotta have a conversation before anything happens.
No. I don’t think anybody would tune in.
Yacht trip with Prokhorov?
Yacht trip? I don’t know.
We’re good? All right guys. You saved me, Brook.
Thursday’s Pre-Game Interview
“I’m in a good place right now. I enjoy being around these guys. I have some big decisions to make. I think going back to Brooklyn one more time helped me see the vision of the franchise again. There were times this year that it was very difficult to see. It was very tough, especially when you’re on the court. I think if we stayed healthy this year, we would have been a playoff team. Then, we added Gerald Wallace and we were definitely a playoff team. The injuries just cost us a lot.”
“It was great, it was great. It’s (Barclays Center) definitely taking shape. It was looking nice, it’s going to be a special arena.”
I just want to add a very interesting (and comical) tweet from Deron here to close the article:
— Deron Williams (@DeronWilliams) May 4, 2012