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Tag:Deron Williams
Posted on: March 27, 2011 6:32 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2011 6:39 pm
 

Deron Williams: No one wanted to play in Utah

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.

deron-williams-utah


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.
Posted on: March 19, 2011 2:01 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Deron Williams (wrist) to miss at least 3 games

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver.

Update (Sunday):

The New Jersey Nets decided not to totally throw in the towel and shut down point guard Deron Williams for the season, opting instead to sit him for three games before re-evaluating his ailing wrist. 

Nets coach Avery Johnson told the Associated Press: "It's something that we know: rest -- not surgery -- is required. We'll treat him. We'll rest him."

Original Post:

The season could be over for Deron Williams. There's not a lot left, but after he tweaked his injured right wrist in the third quarter Friday night, there's talk he may just shut it down.

He was in a clear amount of pain and by the way he talked post game, he might be done.

"I love playing basketball," Williams told The Record. "I hate sitting out. I hate missing games. It's tough for me because I don't just want to sit out. It might be the best thing, but we'll see how it goes."

Of course the Nets aren't playing for anything at this point and while they actually flirted momentarily with a late push for the eight-seed (seriously), they've dropped their last two basically ending hopes of a miracle run. The five straight wins though that put them in that position was encouraging though.

But with nothing to play for and the fact that more losses equals maybe a better pick, coach Avery Johnson didn't souind optimistic. He said after the game that he was "very, very concerned" about Williams' situation.

Williams strained a tendon in his wrist in January and missed a handful of games for the Jazz. It has been bothering him since that time.

"I can't shoot," Williams said. "I think about it every time I take a shot. It affects me mentally and it's weighing on me."

This season isn't the big one for the Nets and Williams anyway. This summer is huge in showing their new star they're committed to winning as he can become a free agent in 2012. But if a lockout kills 2011-12, maybe Williams played his last game with the Nets. It's possible I guess.

Posted on: March 8, 2011 2:40 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 3:52 pm
 

Deron Williams to miss 2 games for child's birth

Deron Williams to miss two games for the birth of his fourth child. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Deron Williams will miss two games to be with his wife in Dallas for the birth of his fourth child, the Bergen Record reports.  Williams flew to his home in Dallas from London where the Nets swept the Raptors in two games. Williams is still looking for his first win with the Nets on U.S. soil. 

It's interesting that Williams has been dealing with all that he's gone through with a pregnant wife. Going through the process currently, I can only say that Williams has basically been dealing with a career rollercoaster while it's hailing buckets of hammers on him. So that's fun. It's been a tumultous year for him, but hopefully he'll have a healthy kid to add to his family which kind of, sort of overshadows accusations of being a coach killer and a malcontent. 

With Williams still keeping his family in his hometown of Dallas, here's a question. Why is Dallas never mentioned as a legitimate landing spot for Williams in 2012? It's always bizarre that players like Bosh and Williams aren't pulled back to what is a considerable market with an aggressive owner who will spend to win in their hometown. Seems kind of cournterintuitive, no? Maybe they just really hate fried food. 
Posted on: March 6, 2011 3:43 pm
 

David West finds Nets 'interesting'

Posted by Royce Young

David West is an unrestricted free agent this summer and hasn't been shy about saying he wants to explore some options. The power forward has always been happy playing with the Hornets and Chris Paul, but is still going to look around a bit.

He was asked about the New Jersey Nets and told the Star Ledger that he finds them intriguing.

"I think that team, obviously, is a lot more interesting than they were," West said. "They were so young before they made that deal, and nobody saw that deal coming. I don't know. I know it's a team that has some (cap) space and a need, but it's ... like I said, when the time comes, we'll see what's out there. Again, at this point in my career, money won't really be the number one (criterion)."

The Nets are obviously committed to pulling in some big name, talented players to convince Deron Williams to stay. West would be a nice start for sure and someone that could fit in well next to Williams in the pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop.

The question is whether or not the Nets would be willing to commit precious cap space to West, especially if they're serious about going after Dwight Howard in 2012. But like I said, the window won't stay open long to prove to Williams that the Nets are a worthy franchise to re-sign with. So going after a player like West might be absolutely necessary.

Currently Kris Humphries is New Jersey's starting power forward and while he's been solid, he's also on an expiring contract. He's probably better suited in a role off the bench and if West is an option, Humphries will quickly become an afterthought.

This summer is important for the Nets because they can't just stand pat with Williams. The move to Brooklyn is coming and the team needs to have a competitive group ready to go for the new town and new building. And for their new star, too.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 8:01 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 8:39 pm
 

Utah Jazz sign coach Tyrone Corbin to new deal

The Utah Jazz have announced that they signed head coach Tyrone Corbin to a "multi-year contract." Posted by Ben Golliver. tyrone-corbin

The past month has arguably been the most hectic in decades for the Utah Jazz. Longtime head coach and franchise icon Jerry Sloan abruptly resigned. Almost as abruptly, the team traded franchise point guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris and Derrick Favors.

On Wednesday, the Jazz took a step towards restoring order by announcing the signing of head coach Tyrone Corbin to a "multi-year contract."
“I am confident that Tyrone is the right man to lead this team into the future.  He is someone with longstanding ties to the Jazz and this community, and who has embraced the core philosophies and ideals this organization holds true.  I feel that his character and leadership qualities will be true assets to the Jazz moving forward for many years to come,” said Greg Miller, CEO of the Utah Jazz.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to lead the Jazz, and to get to follow a legendary figure like Coach Sloan,” said Tyrone Corbin.  “I am truly grateful that the Miller family has the confidence in me to allow me to lead this team into a new era.”
Yahoo Sports! reports that the contract "runs two years guaranteed through 2013, with team option for 2013-2014."

Corbin took over the reigns from Sloan in an emotional press conference, handling a difficult moment with class and dignity by deferring the spotlight to his former boss. Unfortunately, his Jazz are in a bit of a freefall, having lost eight of their last 10 games to fall out of the Western Conference playoff picture. Their playoff hopes seem to dim by the day.

Despite the recent losses, Jazz fans have to like this signing because it represents both continuity and change. Corbin played for Sloan in the early 1990s and served under him as an assistant coach for the past seven years. But he was clear upon his hiring that he would provide a new voice and work to establish his own relationships and systems, a necessity for any first-time head coach in this league much less one who stepped into a difficult situation. 

For the last few years, Corbin has seen his name floated for various head coaching jobs and he's widely respected around the league. Keeping him in Utah is a nice win for the Jazz organization and their fanbase, which surely has its collective head spinning following the events of the last few weeks. 
Posted on: March 2, 2011 9:39 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 9:41 am
 

Nets interested in Dwight Howard, Magic fit best

Dwight Howard will likely be shopping for a new home in the summer of 2012, joining the throng of stars who have or will be looking for brighter destinations. But can it really get any brighter than what he's got right now?
Posted by Matt Mooore

In yesterday's Shootaround, we mentioned that the Nets were planning to pursue Dwight Howard in 2012 when he's a free agent. Which should come as no surprise. After all, he'll be the best free agent in a market that conceivably includes Chris Paul and Deron Williams. He'll have every team with cap space clamoring after him. That's what happens when you're an MVP candidate and the best center in the game. From The Record

Deron Williams has spoken with principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King about their plan and who they will pursue as they prepare for their Brooklyn move after next season.

Orlando center Dwight Howard tops that list, sources said.

The Nets want to improve the talent around Williams to get him to sign an extension when he’s eligible over the summer.

"He definitely talked about that and it gets you excited," Williams said of Prokhorov. "When your owner says he’s going to spend the money and put people around you, that’s definitely appealing.

"There’s a lot of stuff that appeals to me as far as my future here."
via Nets notes: Deron Williams' future - NorthJersey.com.

Howard's going to face a similar situation as LeBron James this summer, the option to play with another All-Star, to play where he wants and have the exact situation he wants. The Nets are in a unique position to get started on their lobbying now, provided they don't cross tampering lines, which apparently the league's not too touchy about you drifting towards. But the Nets are also in a position of relative weakness, with Deron Williams not locked up for the extended future, and with little proof that they can add to the core already in place, which is largely underwhelming. Plus, they already have their center in Brook Lopez, which doesn't at all mean they wouldn't ditch him for Dwight Howard, but what do you do then with Lopez? 

The issues that confront the Nets provide a similar set of questions that face Howard anywhere he signs. New York? How much cap space could they have to sign him? How will he get along with Amar'e Stoudemire? Would he really work in Mike D'Antoni's system? Boston? What's really going to be left in Boston after the Big 3 retire, besides Rajon Rondo, who can't provide scoring help? There's Glen Davis, who will probably be overpaid this summer, but that's not really a franchise cornerstone. Boston has cap roo, mystique, and Rondo, but does Boston really fit Howard's happy-go-lucky image? The Lakers are the obvious choice, with the Lakers' current dynasty likely winding down at that point. Kobe Bryant can play till he's 40, but how will Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol fair as they get older? A sign-and-trade could probably be worked out with the Lakers for Andrew Bynum should Howard make it clear he won't re-sign in Orlando, but will the Lakers really have enough to get right back in the title picture with an aging core to that degree? The list goes on and on.

And then there's Orlando. Orlando, who can offer him the most money.  Orlando who has made him a star.  Orlando who has stuck by him and invested in his growth, and continuously worked to surround him with quality talent without sacrificing flexibility. It's Orlando who will still have the cap space to put new players around Howard, to continue this stretch of contention forward with little hicup. The only thing not going for Orlando is the market, and the fact that Howard can be a bigger, flashier star in a bigger city. Which tells you a lot about the NBA.  Otis Smith has proven not only that he can put quality pieces around Howard, but that he'll continuosly work to improve that core. It's a sure thing, there.

But all Howard would have to do to get Orlando focused on moving forward into the future with Howard is to say he plans to re-sign there. To end the speculation and avoid everything that's followed Carmelo Anthony this year and which awaits Chris Paul and Deron Williams next season.  Just four little word: "I'm going to stay." But instead, he throws out nice workaround phrases about how he loves Orlando, and how he is focused on this season without ever actually saying he'll stay in Orlando. You can say that's for leverage's sake, to keep Orlando motivated on improving the roster. But they've already shown they want to do that. He's bidding against himself, there. And he continues to act as if winning a championship is a given with how he plays, ignoring his still incomplete offensive repertoire and the ease by which some defenses neutralize him completely. 

Orlando is the best possible place for Howard. Now, in the future, in-between. But Howard seems to pretty clearly want to make his mark somewhere fancy, to be that known face, that superstar he feels his play should reward him as. And in the meantime, he's made Orlando desperate to solve something they can't control. Just another day in the life of the ever-compounding NBA. 
Posted on: February 28, 2011 9:22 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2011 9:44 pm
 

Grading the Blazers' Gerald Wallace trade

Looking back at the Portland Trail Blazers' trade deadline. Posted by Ben Golliver. rich-cho

Before last week's trade deadline, I took a lengthy look at whether the Portland Trail Blazers, who have had their championship contending hopes stalled by injuries this season, should blow it up. To quickly recap: I argued that any trade deadline moves would come with an eye towards ensuring that the team made the playoffs, that it would be difficult to see the Blazers parting with point guard Andre Miller, that center Marcus Camby was more expendable than you might think (but still a difficult piece to move because of the team's uncertainty at his position), and that center Joel Przybilla was the team's most obvious trade chip. 

I noted that Przybilla's contract could be dumped in a move to get below the luxury tax line, but that trading any of the team's other core rotation pieces would likely compromise the team's ability to make the playoffs in such a way that management would conclude that the costs would outweigh the benefits. Finally, I noted that Portland's loaded payroll and the flexible nature of Miller's contract, plus the fact that Camby's contract expires next year, would allow the Blazers to defer any rebuilding efforts until draft season if they wanted.

So how did things play out? Well, the Blazers would up making one move: a trade that sent Przybilla, reserve forward Dante Cunningham and end-of-the-bench center Sean Marks plus two future draft picks to the Charlotte Bobcats for forward Gerald Wallace.  

While the construction of Portland's outgoing pieces was entirely expected, Blazers fans have to be pleasantly surprised with the quality of the incoming piece. Wallace was an All-Star and All-Defense in 2009-2010, noteworthy accomplishments considering that he was playing way off the map in Charlotte.

As surprising as the quality that Przybilla plus parts netted was the financial commitment that it required from owner Paul Allen. Allen has never been shy about spending money, but the most under-reported aspect of this Wallace trade is the exact level of financial commitment it required. 

The Blazers not only took on $21 million in future salary to Wallace in the deal, they also upped their payroll this year by nearly $1 milion, a number that could rise to roughly $2 million if they move to fill their two empty roster spots, as expected, prior to the playoffs.  Portland was already a luxury tax payer, so that added payroll will result in an additional dollar-for-dollar luxury tax payment as well. Aside from the New York Knicks' play for Carmelo Anthony, the New Jersey Nets' trade for Deron Williams and the Mo Williams for Baron Davis bad contract swap, Portland's trade for Wallace represents the most expensive move any team made at this year's deadline.  

Remember, though, that we're not just comparing Portland's cap situation to what it would have been if they stood pat. We also need to compare it to what it could have been had they looked to shed salary, an obvious and available alternative heading into the deadline. Had the Blazers managed to dump Przybilla's contract on a team like the Sacramento Kings - which wound up needing to take on Marquis Daniels' contract to meet the NBA's minimum salary threshold - the Blazers would have been able to get under the luxury tax, thereby avoiding the need to write a multi-million dollar luxury tax check this offseason and receiving a multi-million dollar check from the luxury tax payers for being under the tax line this offseason. Even if they sent along cash to cover the remaining money owed to Przybilla, there would have been real cash savings in Allen's pocket in just a few months, and Cunningham and Marks would have come off of the books this summer too. 

But instead of kicking back and taking the financial savings like many owners would have, Allen bit the bullet and allowed GM Rich Cho to execute a classic "buy low, sell high" trade. The Blazers got Wallace, who has seen his numbers fall off a bit this season, for nothing but scrap assets while simultaneously selling Przybilla's expiring contract for a 28-year-old former All-Star. Cho's predecessor, Kevin Pritchard, had allowed similar expiring contracts to go unused in previous years and Cho's activity - not to mention Allen's pocketbook - are currently the toast of the town.  

With that said, this wasn't an undisputed grand slam trade for Portland. The Blazers still have long-term questions at both the point guard and center positions, and Wallace is a good but not perfect complement to franchise power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, while also being a bit redundant with current starting small forward Nicolas Batum. His injury history - particularly the concussions - is well-documented and his lack of shooting range could be a fairly significant shortcoming in Portland's system.

Even with those knocks, though, Wallace arrives in Portland as the team's second best player behind Aldridge, at least until Brandon Roy and Greg Oden return to health. He provides a much needed top-end talent infusion, adds excellent defensive versatility and toughness and is a solid, aggressive option on offense. He also provides a consistency factor for a team seemingly in constant transition, as he's likely locked in through 2012-2013. His statistical dip this season should be taken in context, as the Bobcats struggled out of the gate after losing two key pieces in Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler and underwent some turmoil that eventually led to former coach Larry Brown's forced resignation. Wallace also told reporters upon arriving in Portland that he had battled an ankle injury which had limited his effectiveness. Blazers coach Nate McMillan won't ask Wallace to be a No. 1 or No. 2 scoring option, so that mitigates most of the "Is he aging early?" concern. 

Going forward, Portland must still address issues at the point guard spot and in the middle, but they managed to retain both Miller and Camby (and their contracts) as potential trade chips and have young talent like Rudy Fernandez and Nicolas Batum that could be thrown into larger deals should the right marquee name come along. Really, one might argue that the addition of Wallace serves to improve Portland's longer-term flexibility as his contract number and duration should make him a reasonable trade asset in the future, especially beause the alternative was likely nothing once the Przybilla, Cunningham and Marks trio were allowed to hit the open market this summer.

It's also worth noting that, even if Portland had gotten under the luxury tax before the deadline, it would have been nearly impossible for the Blazers to move under the salary cap. The team has already doled out long-term deals to Roy, Aldridge and Wesley Matthews, plus big dollars will likely be needed to retain center Oden, who is a restricted free agent this summer. In other words, taking the cheap route and passing on Wallace would have been saved some money immediately but it wouldn't have represented a meaningful step towards rebuilding and true flexibility.

Taken together, there's no basketball reason to avoid making this trade. The best argument against this trade comes from the potential for short-term financial savings, but even that argument isn't overwhelming. The various longer-term risks - injury, future dollars, roster fit, current and future luxury tax dollars - are not prohibitive, especially if the owner is in a "pay to play" mentality. 

Given the team's cap situation and playoff position, acquiring Wallace winds up being a fairly expensive bandaid solution. In a best case scenario it could wind up helping salvage a tortured season. But even if the Blazers go one-and-done in the playoffs again this season, this trade doesn't meaningfully impair Portland's future flexibility. If money isn't an object, and it apparently isn't, then why not?

Final Grade: B+
Posted on: February 26, 2011 12:12 am
 

Deron Williams debut with the Nets goes meh

Posted by Royce Young



Unlucky for Deron Williams and the Nets that their first game together had to come against the NBA's best team. That can tend to make things tougher.

Williams wasn't bad but wasn't his normal stellar self either in the Nets 106-96 loss the Spurs Friday night. Williams played 41 minutes scoring 14 points on just 5-13 shooting, but he did distribute the ball well to his new teammates dishing out 12 assists.

The Nets were clearly going to be in a state od disarray offensively as the team tried to fit in around Williams. Coach Avery Johnson said before the game they'd have to "wing it" in the first game with Williams. And for a half, it was working. The Nets were hanging tight, actually holding a 54-53 lead at the break.

Where it caught up to them finally was in the third quarter where the veteran Spurs made adjustments to the Nets "wing it" offense and locked down New Jersey. The Spurs took the third 35-18 and pretty much had the game in hand from there on out.

But Williams' impact was unmistakable. He gave the Nets a bit of a new life offensively with his ability to create for himself or dish to an open shooter. Anthony Morrow was on the receiving end of a number of Williams' gifts, going 7-11 from the field for 25 points. The team was obviously better because, you know, they had maybe the best point guard in the league making plays for them. That tends to help.

Williams has walked into a situation much different that the other stars that have moved around. He's gone from a playoff contending team to a team potentially contending for the worst record. It's quite a switch. But on top of that, he doesn't have the luxury of joining up with another All-Star on the roster. In Utah, he had some really good players around him. In New Jersey, he has Brook Lopez and 13 other role players.

There is absolutely no doubt that the Nets are better right now. We're all going to forget how good Deron Williams is over these final two months of the season as he toils away on a horrible Nets team. As Derrick Rose carries the Bulls into the postseason, as Chris Paul makes incredible plays for teammates, Rajon Rondo piles up assists and Russell Westbrook scintilates through the air, we're going to forget just how terrific Williams is. It happens when a player like him ends up on a team that's stuck in motion.

The Nets have a long way to go not just in improving the roster and getting into playoff contending status, but also in terms of convincing Williams the Nets franchise is a worthy place to be. Getting him was a huge coup. Keeping him will be an even bigger one.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com