The earlier posting of the article about D-Will's excitement about free agency was very telling for multiple reasons. First, in my opinion, this is the strongest and perhaps final indication that he is definitely gone. He is no longer making all of the right and politically correct comments about his excitement for the future but rather expressing his frustration with the fans and organization. He is articulating and embracing the uncertainty that lays ahead. While I would like to see him in a Nets uniform next year, especially since he is hands down our best player, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief and think to myself, "good for him."
Good for D-Will for finally being honest and verbally expressing the frustration that he showed on the court all season. Good for D-Will for not leading us to blindly believe - despite the statistics - that he will be with us next season. Good for D-Will for finally manning up and telling the organization how he really feels.
The fat lady has not sung yet and he is not officially gone, but I feel that his comments indicate that he's no longer staying. I also agree with and respect the opinions of the fans who talked about the reality of D-Will's situation. He was traded here without expecting it. He was not drafted by New Jersey. He really has no reason to be loyal to us - despite Billy King's desire to make D-Will somewhat of an "Assistant GM." Again, Billy King wished on a shooting star for Dwight Howard and had no contingency plan aside from trading a high value pick for a good, but aging small forward. Billy King needs to accept the consequences of his actions, which, were very sedentary rather than active. In short, we cannot expect D-Will to have any allegiance to us.
Where I fault D-Will, however, is with his inability to be a good leader. He may be a leader when the ball is in his hands, but by his obvious frustration on and off the court, he is not the beacon of positivity and optimism that good leaders are supposed to be. In that way, I am almost happy to see D-Will go. While I thought it was a little extreme for someone to compare him to Stephon Marbury in an earlier Fan Post, I definitely see that logic because D-Will always seemed to be in it for himself. Say what you want about Vince Carter, but the guy played hard every night and never indicated that he did not want to be here. He was a Net. When he was traded to Orlando, he cheered. Why? Because he was shipped not only close to home, but also to a contender. He had every right to be happy to leave, but he never got down on the Nets or the organization during his time here. The same can be said for Devin Harris who, after Carter was traded, said "This is my team now, I am the leader." Devin wanted to be here too. Of course we all remember Richard Jefferson, who loved the Nets and wanted to be a Net for life. As I reflect on these players, it is unfortunate to think of some of the players who have come and gone over the years. The Nets have made a lot of mistakes and I wish that some of those players were still on the team.
Nevertheless, the difference between a D-Will and RJ, Carter, and Harris is that D-Will is better, plain and simple. We need guys like D-Will in order to win. But it's also guys like D-Will who appear like they're going to quit on us. Despite being a great leader for so many years, Jason Kidd did quit on us. I wish the Nets would choose their allegiances more carefully and create a culture of loyalty, much like the Thunder.
As I approach this topic of loyalty, this gets me to the main point of the post. As I read through the comments, I often see people saying that they are going to stop rooting for the Nets if this happens or if that happens. I often dismiss those comments - and those fans - as fareweather and as people who lack loyalty to their team. I'd like to see them go. Then, I saw a comment today that hit me right between the eyes. I saw a comment that genuinely bothered me for a few reasons.
Net Income said that he will be gone if the Nets fail to retain D-Will, which is again something that I consider to be a strong if not definite possibility. I am not making this post to call out Net Income but to say that I hold Net Income in very high esteem as a Nets fan. His tireless work and energy allow us to enjoy this website every single day. Net Income is a loyal and informed fan - but, even he will be gone if D-Will walks.
I have considered over the years, but only slightly, changing allegiances if the Nets don't get it done. Then I look at my room and my belongings and I look at all of the Nets things I have accumulated over the years. I look at my posters t-shirts and jerseys of guys like Kendall Gill, Keith Van Horn and Lucious Harris. I look at my ticket stubs from the hundreds of Nets games I have been to. I love the Nets and I will always be a Nets fan, but with this admission comes a sadness and also an uncertainty about the future. We thought that Prokorov would have turned things around, but now we have learned, unfortunately, that he may be nothing more than an empty suit who speaks of big promises and has not yet delivered. Yes, I will remain a Nets fan, but perhaps this loyalty is harming me from ever experiencing victory as a fan of basketball.
I would like to ask the website if any of you - again, genuinely loyal, informed, and dedicated fans - plan on hanging it up as a Nets fan any time soon. I am not saying my approach of staying is wrong or right, but what I am admitting is how doomed this franchise appears to be. Being a Nets fan is a form of self torture.
And to Net Income, if it is true you will be leaving us (which I truly hope was a comment made in a moment of disappointment) I would like to publicly thank you for this website and the hope, joy, and pain that it has brought us over the years. You have done an outstanding job and this website will be sorely missed if its days are numbered.