Blog Entry

Deron Williams: No one wanted to play in Utah

Posted on: March 27, 2011 6:32 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 6:39 pm
New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams says that he tried and failed to recruit players to play for the Utah Jazz. Posted by Ben Golliver.


One of the NBA's great marketing successes of the last decade has been the degree to which it has encouraged its teams to engage with and give back to their local communities. But behind all of the NBA Cares commercials is a bleak reality: not every NBA market is created equal in the eyes of its players, a fact that is getting more evident by the year as the league's stars continue to flex their considerable influence in determining where they play.

The case of New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams is particularly telling. Williams was said to be frustrated in Utah and seeking a move to the New York Knicks in the future. However, once the Jazz came to terms with his long-term lack of commitment to their organization, they quickly moved Williams to the New Jersey Nets prior to the trade deadline. 

One byproduct of that trade? Williams is now free to speak honestly about the situation in Utah. He doesn't paint a pretty picture, admitting to the New York Daily News that he couldn't convince anyone to join him in Salt Lake City.
"That was the hardest thing for me," he says of playing recruiter for the Jazz. "I tried every summer. I played with the best guys year after year and guys that were becoming free agents and asked if they wanted to come play with me and they're like, 'In Utah?'"
"I tried to tell people it's a great city. If you want to go out and party every night, it's not where you want to be. It's a clean city. There's a lot to do for families. The fans are great. Great foods. Great restaurants. The only thing it didn't have is partying."
While that statement doesn't paint the average NBA free agent in the best light, it's an even harsher (yet accurate) assessment of the reality facing many small-market teams who compete for the same free agents year after year. Any player worth a damn who reaches free agency will have the same offer available to him from multiple teams. Williams' point is that the Jazz, who have been a model franchise for decades, simply lagged behind in a crucial tie-breaker that they will never be able to remedy: desireability of location. Given recent trends, it's virtually impossible to argue with what he's saying, as desireable cities -- New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago -- have stockpiled the best talent.

The Sacramento Kings' proposed relocation to Anaheim will make for an interesting test case of Williams' analysis. The analysis regarding Sacramento's expected move to Southern California has largely focused around the team's desire to play in a slightly better building and to reach a much larger television audience, but isn't it possible that the Kings would instantly become bigger players in the free agency game simply by virtue of a new zip code? The Kings will have plenty of cap space this summer, a young core in place to build around and will no longer be in an NBA backwater, instead playing within spitting distance of one of the world's most idealized cities. That should seriously help them land someone big this summer or next summer, right?

In any case, Williams' talk is indicative a fundamental imbalance, and it's a part of the league's push in its recent labor negotiation rhetoric towards leveling the playing field for all 30 teams. While the NBA can't make Salt Lake City's nightlife more enticing, it can certainly do a better job of helping small-market teams retain their best players and compete for free agents.

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: March 28, 2011 5:51 pm

Deron Williams: No one wanted to play in Utah

Glad the over payed PUNK is gone. Your headache now NJ. He won't be there much longer either. 

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: March 28, 2011 10:30 am

Deron Williams: No one wanted to play in Utah

Williams didn't say anything bad about Utah or NBAe players. I don't blame the players for wanting to party. As long as they do their jobs on the court, what they do on their own time is their business. They've worked hard to get where they are. What's the point of doing all that work to make all that money if you can't have a little fun with it? A great night life is a fair consideration when deciding where you want to live and work and considering it doesn't mean you're only concerned about partying 24/7.

Utah is of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. Utah is a wonderful place to visit and I definitely recommend going there at least once in your life, especially if you love the outdoors. But honestly, I wouldn't want to live there, either. There are just too many people way too concerned about how others live and all too willing to tell them how they should be living.

Since: Mar 15, 2011
Posted on: March 28, 2011 7:51 am

Deron Williams: No one wanted to play in Utah

nba players want the 24/7 party thing, not boring clubs that close up at 11pm in utah.  Plus, the chicks out there aren't very hot and not wild enough for the players with all that money that expect the best.

Since: Apr 20, 2010
Posted on: March 28, 2011 7:49 am

Deron Williams: No one wanted to play in Utah

"instead playing within spitting distance of one of the world's most idealized cities."

So...smog, pollution, and gangs are ideal?  Might wanna go with idolized there....

Since: Sep 15, 2006
Posted on: March 28, 2011 4:44 am

Deron Williams: No one wanted to play in Utah

The NBA is poorly run....the players in this league decide what they do and where they go.  Set some caps and hard rules, make it so teams can't eliminate other teams before they start.  An equal playing field would make things more fun to watch...right now I just don't care.  P.S.  I have been to Utah, I wouldn't want to be there either....

Since: Mar 21, 2009
Posted on: March 28, 2011 1:26 am

Deron Williams: No one wanted to play in Utah

ya know these guys make so much money and they are so close to los angeles  I think Deron is not being fair .  It represents his feelings or bitterness and that is that.

Since: Jul 29, 2010
Posted on: March 28, 2011 12:59 am

Deron Williams: No one wanted to play in Utah


Since: Oct 24, 2009
Posted on: March 27, 2011 10:22 pm

Slotted Cap, Not a Hard Cap will solve the issue.

It is not a hard cap that they need because that will not work. What they need is a staggered slotted cap where a team can only have on 10 mill player, one 7 mill player etc. That way it should evenly distribute the stars around the league. The cap as it is now allows the Heat, Knicks etc to have 2 or 3 stars and filler for the rest of the team. A slotted cap will eliminate that.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: March 27, 2011 9:42 pm

Deron Williams: No one wanted to play in Utah

No disrespect from D Will towards Utah in this interview.

The NBA has to go the way of the NHL and level the playing field for all teams by implementing a hard cap. These highly paid athletes should not have the power to control and limit where they play to five cities. The only other option is to cut the NBA down to 6 teams in  the preferred cities- cut the jobs of 300 NBA players in the process and reclassify the other 24 franchises as minor league franchises. Except for the top few teams, NBA is overpriced considering most teams have so little talent. But $40 for courtside and calling it what it is- D league would be fine. A family of four could get decent seats for $50 and have a nice night out. I would pay in that range to watch my Raptors play Cleveland. But earlier in the year when I paid $100/ ticket to watch the Raps get smoked by Orlando, I got ripped off.

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: March 27, 2011 9:37 pm


When did Deron Williams get so much hair?  I remember it being very thin last season.  It almost looks like he sprays something on it now. 

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