New Jersey Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams has realized that there is a downside in announcing one’s intentions to test the Free Agent market; that is dealing with the reactions of the fans of the franchise you may be leaving. The 27-year-old guard has made it clear that he is opting-out of the final year of his contract, however he is hurt and rather perplexed at the unkind nature of the messages he has received from Nets fans on his Twitter account.
D-Will told “Yahoo Sports” that he believes that fans have a double-standard in how they judge when a team makes a trade; as opposed to a player leaving on his own via Free Agency. The Nets guard told the website “People get traded all the time. They don’t get backlash as an organization. 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 apparently missed SportsCenter last month when the fans at Oakland’s Oracle Center disrupted the ceremony that the Golden State Warriors had at halftime to retire former All-Star forward Chris Mullin’s jersey, by mercilessly booing the club’s co-owner Joe Lacob every time he stepped near a microphone. Lacob was told by Warriors fans that they disapproved of the club’s decision to trade Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Golden State situation is far from being an isolated incident; as anyone who grew up a sports fan can easily remember having their heart-broken when the team they root for traded their favorite player to another team. Sports fans have shown their displeasure to such moves since the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees nearly 100 years ago.
Williams however in his complaint is truly comparing apples to oranges, especially for the fans. The purpose of a trade is to ideally improve your team; where as the purpose of Free Agency is to improve a player’s life. Hopefully for the fans they will have someone to support as a result of a trade; while in Free Agency a team and its fans could easily be left high and dry.
Although he will be able to command more money from the Nets than from any other club in the Association, money will not be the deciding factor for Williams. He told the website “I want to win. 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”
Although New Jersey General Manager Billy King and head coach Avery Johnson tell reporters they are cautiously optimistic they can convince Williams to stay with the team as they make the move to Brooklyn, the club as it stands pales in comparison with some of the other teams who want to bring him on board. It is well-known that the Dallas Mavericks are going to make a big push for him once he becomes a Free Agent and Dallas is far closer to winning another NBA Title than New Jersey is to winning their first.
Williams agent should most likely tell his client to stay away from social media sites until he has a new deal in place. At that point the cheers that he will receive from the Nets or any other franchise in the NBA, should more than balance out the hurt feelings he has received recently.