Deron, Deron, Deron, where to begin...
Deron Williams has given his first interview of his first extended off-season ... to Bleacher Report’s Gerald Narciso. Is he announcing his retirement? Nope, he’s in waiting mode, he says. Maybe if his long time agent Jeff Schwartz brings him something, he’ll consider it. In the meantime, he’s working out, spending time with his family and thinking about his past.
He has a certain luxury of course in doing so, of course. He’s made $141 million in his NBA career and according to a Nets insider he will get around $200,000 on the 15th and 30th of every month through June 30, 2020 when his stretched payments from your Brooklyn Nets run out.
The interview was far ranging with Williams reminiscing about his time in Utah, lamenting that he couldn’t contribute more last spring when he had his first real chance at a ring with the Cavaliers. (Richard Jefferson said his Cleveland teammates lamented it too.)
But for Nets fans, of course, it’s time in New Jersey and Brooklyn that spark the most interest. D-Will pointedly didn’t trash his teammates or the front office. He saved his worst for the New York media. Narciso writes...
It is not surprising he has had a rocky relationship with reporters—most notably during his tenure in Brooklyn.
"I'm the type of person who gets annoyed easily with the same questions or dumb questions," Williams said. "So, I don't like questions about me. I don't like to talk about myself, honestly."
Williams feels he has been burned multiple times in the press, particularly by the New York media. There was the time he raved about living in New York City to local lifestyle publication Resident but admitted he faced challenges in sending his four young children to different schools. "It was a tough situation, but that doesn't even matter," he said of a resulting New York Post article. "The title of the story is like 'I don't like New York.'"
We remember that. The story was written by a Post columnist who didn’t cover the Nets and, as is often the case —particularly with the Post— the headline was far more inflammatory than the body of the story.
Whatever. Williams sensitivity to criticism is legendary.
DWill also notes other stories he says were “fake news.”
He also scoffs at circumstantial stories constructed by "sources." In one instance, he reportedly argued with coach Jason Kidd in practice. That resulted in their playing one-on-one to settle it. In another, Deron decided to coach practice after Avery Johnson was fired.
Williams quips: "Me and Donald Trump don't agree on anything except fake news."
We recall the first story, a one-source Stefan Bondy piece, but have no recollection of the second. We do recall another Bondy story where D-WIll reportedly had to be restrained from fighting Lionel Hollins. (Don’t know who we would have rooted for in that one!) No doubt the New York media is tough and all-time nice guy and media favorite Brook Lopez backed up D-Will to a degree.
"I definitely think there are some unfair assumptions that were created by the media, but it's always tough playing in the market we did out there," added Lopez, who was traded to the Lakers in the offseason. "They were always looking for something."
Lopez and others seemed to be able to handle New York. As Joe Johnson famously said, “It’s not that bad here.”
Also, D-Will’s complaint belies one of his other contentions in the piece. "I feel like I can adapt to anything," he said.
Williams talked about his injuries, primarily to his ankles.
"Being injured sucks. It ruined my confidence, not being able to do the things I could do, because I was playing on two bad ankles so long, it just took a lot out of me," said Williams, who added he and his family enjoyed living in New York City and building lasting friendships. "Caused me to be depressed, hate basketball at times."
But according to various reports, D-Will postponed ankle surgery, that the Nets implored him to get it done before he finally relented in May 2014 and underwent surgery on both ankles ... two years after the Nets reportedly first suggested it.
The Nets paid Williams the majority of that $141 million, built their team around him, made monumentally bad deals to keep him happy, but it was all for nought. Ask Paul Pierce, who famously slammed him for being off-putting, not a leader. And of course we’re still pissed at him for departing without any, even perfunctory farewell. A lot of kids bought Williams No. 8 jerseys.
No one doubts D-Will is a VERY smart man, a VERY good man to his family, a VERY involved man who devoted a lot of time to help parents of children affected by autism like his own adopted son. But he was not made for New York New York proved too much for the man.
We wrote about all this, of course, when he left. And we wrote about it before he left and are writing about it again. Maybe, hopefully, this will be the last time but we doubt it. The Nets belief that D-Will was their superstar colored everything that is wrong with the Nets currently. But let’s assume this is the last time we speak of the guy. So we’ll let him have his valedictory, courtesy of Narciso.
"Basketball doesn't define me as a person. If this is my last season or I'm done playing basketball at this point, I feel like I could look back and say I had a great career," Williams said. "Not many guys get to play 12 years in the NBA and win gold medals and get to compete for a championship. So, I got a lot to be proud about."