In February of 2011, Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan resigned after 23 years with the organization. Shortly after it happened, league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports that Sloan stepped away largely because of repeated clashes with star guard Deron Williams. Weeks later, Utah sent Williams to the Nets for guard Devin Harris, forward Derrick Favors, two first round draft picks, and $3MM in cash.
Both Williams and Sloan have denied that their rift led to Sloan’s resignation, but multiple reports saw it differently. As the Nets get set to host the Jazz tomorrow night, Williams opened up to reporters about his time in Utah and difficulties in Brooklyn just months after signing a five-year, $98MM deal to stay put. Here’s a look at some of the highlights, courtesy of Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News..
On difficulties adjusting to coach Avery Johnson‘s offense:
“I’ve really had injuries I’ve been dealing with the whole time. I didn’t have the talent around me I did there. Their system was a great system for my style of play, I am a system player. I loved coach (Jerry) Sloan’s system there, I loved the offense there…In college (at Illinois), we ran the motion offense. A lot of cutting, a lot passing, a lot of screening, a lot of extra passes. I’m used to just movement. So I’m still trying to adjust. It’s been an adjustment for me.
On making things work in Brooklyn:
“I believe I can adapt to anything. We’re still a young team. Things don’t happen overnight. It’s still just December. We’re working on it.“
On being traded from Utah:
“I understand what they were doing. It was smart on their point, because there was a possibility that I wouldn’t have come back.”