Deron Williams hasn’t been the franchise cornerstone for the Brooklyn Nets that so many anticipated. After a solid debut season with the team in 2011-2012, Williams’ play has deteriorated enough over the past two years that he’s become a relative salary albatross – a reality even darker considering the infinitely deep pockets of owner Mikhail Prokhorov. As the re-vamped Nets ready for the 2014-2015 season under the guidance of Lionel Hollins, Williams’ place in the team’s future has never been more tenuous. If he’s to salvage his time with the Nets, basically, it needs to happen soon. That much is clear. What’s much less so is whether or not Williams even wants to continue his career in New York for the long-haul.
“I’m not going to lie. I don’t really feel so much like a New Yorker. I grew up in an apartment in Texas where you could send your kids outside like ‘yeah, go play in the sun.’ Here it’s more challenging. The process of getting them into school is a nightmare. Even private schools where you pay are an ordeal. In Utah, you just send your kids to the first public school in the area because they’re all great. Truth is, we enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle and going back to Utah every summer. It’s a relief to take that timeout. No traffic. No crowds. My daughters still have their friends there. There’s a big backyard. They go to the pool; the playground and they jump on the trampoline. Kids running wild and free here…? I don’t think so.”
That doesn’t sound like a man that wants to live in New York City long-term. Neither does this:
“What constitutes a New Yorker?”… Then looking me in the eyes his words seemingly jump beyond my reach, “Third thing is New Yorkers are tough. Or at least they think they are.”
Williams is due just over $40 million over the next two seasons, and carries a player option for the 2016-2017 season that will pay him $22.3 million. Considering it’s unlikely that his next contract will be worth even half that much annually, Williams will surely elect to play through the remainder of his current deal.
What could render that assumption irrelevant is if he’s intent on leaving New York for more comfortable and familiar pastures. It would be a major boon for Brooklyn if Williams opts-out of the final season of his contract, giving them enough cap space to chase Kevin Durant, another max-level star, and other quality parts. Given his lukewarm assessment of city life in The Resident, perhaps that’s a route Williams will ponder despite its financial ramifications.
For the immediate future, though, he’s locked-in with the Nets and vice versa. Here’s hoping Williams’ grows more comfortable in Brooklyn over that timeframe – both on and off the court.
What do you think?
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