As he stated after the trade deadline, Deron Williams hasn't wavered on his stance to test free agency after this season rather than opting into the final year of his current contract. That doesn't preclude a return to the Nets, but Williams figures to explore all of his options before making a decision. The point guard talked to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports about his impending free agency, Dwight Howard, and his role in the Nets' decision-making. Here are the highlights:
- Williams pointed out that teams don't get called "unloyal" for trading players like free agents do for leaving teams: "If [players] leave, we are not loyal, we are ungrateful. People say stuff to me on Twitter. They already think I’m gone. They are out there bashing me, saying to me I’m a traitor…. I didn’t ask to be here. I got traded. I didn’t come here being a free agent. This is the first time that I’m a free agent in my career."
- Williams "probably" would've re-signed with the Nets if the team had managed to acquire Howard at the trade deadline: "Oh yeah, it definitely would have changed things. I’ve already made it known that if he would have come I probably would have stayed."
- A winning situation will be Williams' first priority in free agency: "At the end of the day, I'm not getting any younger. I'll be 28 when I sign this next deal. I have to look for the best situation for me."
- Nets GM Billy King thinks that having a hand in his team's decision-making process will be another draw for Williams. The point guard has worked with King and the Nets' front office on personnel decisions since December, according to King: "In training camp he was in my office after practice every day just sitting there. He calls himself, 'the assistant GM.'"
- The Mavericks have long been cited as a potential destination for Williams in free agency, a fact he acknowledges: "They’d definitely love for me to play [in Dallas]. I know that. I’ve known that my whole career. The fans on Twitter, a lot of Dallas fans on Twitter, tell me to come back home. We’ll see."