By John Torenli
Deron Williams was determined to clear the air regarding his pending free-agent status during the Brooklyn Nets’ pre-draft workout combine in East Rutherford, N.J., on Tuesday afternoon.
Instead, he left our borough’s hoops enthusiasts in as thick a fog as the one that rolled into and over Coney Island on Wednesday evening.
Williams, the Nets’ All-Star point guard, had just returned from a well-chronicled European vacation, which featured a stopover in Turkey to check out the Euroleague Championships and a week’s stay in Russia.
His trip took on extra meaning when it was reported that Williams met with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in Istanbul and Moscow, presumably so that Prokhorov could make some progress in trying to secure the 27-year-old playmaker’s services for the franchise’s inaugural campaign at Barclays Center.
But according to Williams, who will no longer be under contract with any NBA team as of July 1, all the speculation surrounding his upcoming “Decision” is a bunch of noise signifying nothing.
“I want to reiterate: I don’t know what I’m doing next year,” said Williams. “Still. Nobody does but me. Not even my mom, my brother, my uncle, my cousin. I haven’t talked to anybody about where I’m going next year. I’m here right now because I sold my house in San Diego, so I can’t go there. I have a house in Utah that I’m trying to sell, but it has no furniture in it so I can’t go there. Plus, my kids are in school till June 28, so I have to stay here."
Williams did reveal that he wants to make his plans clear on or shortly after July 1, so he can concentrate on his commitment to the U.S. Olympic team’s participation in the upcoming London games.
“I leave on July 5 for Olympic training [in Las Vegas], so it really doesn’t make sense for me to go anywhere,” he went on. “I do not have a house in Dallas, so I wouldn’t go there. Let’s see. What else? My brother is not attending school in N.J. next year.”
After watching previous free-agent-to-be superstars like LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard go through the same type of non-stop speculation, it’s hard to believe Williams didn’t see this mind-numbing media maelstrom coming.
Between now and the first of July, he’ll be rumored headed back to Brooklyn, off to Los Angeles to team up with Kobe Bryant, down south to Orlando to join Howard or even to Dallas, where Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has already made it known he would be welcome.
It’s really anyone’s guess. And anyone and everyone will continue to do just that until Williams makes up his mind.
He doesn’t have to like it, but he’d better get used to it.
It’s the high price of stardom in the NBA. And it's one that will make him a $100-million man by the time all is said, done and speculated upon.