Point guard superstar and new NYC resident Deron Williams did sushi in Soho this afternoon. While again demonstrating he's an intelligent and good guy, Williams gave us answers to all our annoying questions.
D-Will spoke on Monday about his time in Turkey, current and possibly future Nets and his thoughts on building a Nets legacy.
So see below for Williams' thoughts on the free-agent class, Dwight Howard, Brook Lopez, the Dallas Mavericks and the Knicks.
What was good about experience in Turkey?
Everything. At first it was really rough. The first month. Things weren't going as smoothly as I thought it was going to go – getting the kids into school, finding a place big enough. In that city, it's kind of hard. There's not a lot of houses that can accommodate seven people. But after I got settled, it turned out to be a great experience.
It really wasn't much about the city I didn't like or the experience I didn't like. Basketball was different – the traveling, the coaching, the refereeing, but the city was amazing. The people there were great. The culture, the food. Everything was good. I thought I was going to stay over there for the whole year two weeks ago. So I definitely enjoyed the experience. The only bright spot in the lockout for me was getting that opportunity to go over there and see a great place.
I didn't know at first. I just told Jeff, my agent, to find out where the opportunities are. I knew I wanted to play somewhere and he kind of steered me. There were only a couple teams that could pay me, first of all, and give me an out. But then (my agent) told me as far as going and living somewhere, I think you'll enjoy Istanbul the best. I knew Istanbul from Mehmet (Okur), because I played with him for five years. He's always told me good things about it. All the people that told me from Team USA, the directors and all that, told me how great it was.
Any reservations because Allen Iverson had a difficult time with that team?
I didn't even know that. I thought he liked it. He didn't like it. At the time, I thought he liked it. But I think I adjust well. I like trying different things, different proposals. I'm not scared to try things. I heard he went to TGIFridays everyday. I went to TGIFridays one time. So I think we're a little different.
So now you're in good shape because you played there?
I'm ready to play. I'm ready to go. The wrist is great. It's the best it felt since I can remember.
Intentions regarding Nets?
In a perfect world, we'd get the players for me to stay here. I'm excited about the opportunity to play in the new arena in Brooklyn – the move – I just think it would be a great place to play. So that's what I'm hoping for. That would be the best-case scenario.
What do the Nets have to do?
We have to get some big pieces that can build a championship. I know it's not going to happen in one (year). …or it could, if I guess the right guys come. But I know they're dedicated to doing it so I'm not too worried about it.
Players available in free agency now?
There are a couple but I don't think there's enough in free agency to have a championship team right away.
And you need a championship team?
Yeah. Eventually, yeah.
I want to win a championship. I'm not interested in being part of a five-year rebuilding process, but I don't think that's what the Nets want to do either.
What does it feel like to know everything is about keeping you?
It definitely feels good to have that support, to have that input. They ask me a lot about guys, about who I want to play with. That's great when management will come and ask you that type of stuff.
When your final decision is made, will it have to do with money?
Not all. Not all about the money. Like I said earlier on the radio, where I go is hopefully where I'm going to retire.
I'm not interested in moving to different teams. I want to try to find somewhere and make that home. Five years from now, my daughter will want to be in high school, so I don't want to keep moving kids in and out of schools. They've already been moving around like crazy the last year, so yeah, I want to win, that's the bottom line, I want to win and I want to find somewhere to call home.
So getting players in free agency would just be the beginning based on what's available, fair to say?
You had a playoff team in Utah, right?
I had a playoff team in Utah. We had a good team but we never made any. …I guess they did make trades, they traded me, but other than that, they never did anything significant and it kind of frustrated me.
What about your 90 percent comment on the radio?
He asked me a number. I just said that, but I haven't really thought about that before he said that – what percentage? But yeah, like I said, it's a strong possibility – I have a strong feeling that I'll re-sign here.
How about Tyson Chandler?
I think they're different players. They bring different things. They'd be great pieces to have. I think Tyson is more of a defensive center, he needs to have more of a scorer like Dirk. That works well because he's not as offensive-minded, but he's so good defensively that he could change a team. Look what he did for the Mavs this year. He just changed the whole dynamic of the team.
Would you be okay with plan waiting to spend money for next offseason when stars become available?
I don't know. It's so hard for me. My goal for me is to play this year. I know I'm not getting traded. I don't know that, but I don't think I'm getting traded. My goal is – I trust Billy. They ask me for input, and they're the ones that go and sign players they're the ones that make the deals. All I could do is play.
I want to play and help this team win, try to make the playoffs, try to get them in the right direction, and then I'll decide.
Making any recruiting calls?
I'll talk to some guys. But it's so hard to get a feel for where people are at. They can tell you anything, but you don't know. It's if they want to come here or not.
Last year team had money and didn't wind up with anything, what do you think about this year?
You have to think about it – four guys, big guy was Amar'e. Chris Bosh and LeBron both went to Miami, so that was two of them. I'm not really concerned with it.
I think this is going to be a great destination, now that people actually know they're going to Brooklyn. People kknow it's happening, they see it taking shape. They know it'll be different. I think people would want to come here and play.
What would be your pitch to Brooklyn?
I think it's going to be huge. I think going to Brooklyn is huge. I think we should sell out every night, just because of the new arena first, I think everybody is going to be excited about it, and then we'll start winning and we'll take over. I think that even though there are a lot, a lot of Knick fans in the area, people will switch over, or people that might not have a team will come over to ours.
Talked to Dwight about coming to Brooklyn?
I've talked to him a lot. We've had some conversations. He knows I want to play with him. I don't think there is a player in the NBA that doesn't want to play with Dwight Howard – unless there's somebody that probably hates him. I'm sure he would love to play with me as well.
Spoke to Brook?
I just saw Brook today. You know Brook, he doesn't care. Free spirit. He's good. I haven't really talked to him about all the rumors or anything.
Sign a center he would have to co-exist with that center?
You know Brook's game, he likes to pop anyways, he likes and shoot. He definitely has some low-post game, but he does equally well floating out 17 feet.
Work with him on mental aspect?
Yeah, a lot. I talked to him last year a lot. He could be so good. He had a good season last year, don't get me wrong. And finished the season even better. But if he becomes a better rebounder. Kris gets a lot of rebounds, so it kinds of makes up for it. But if he becomes a better rebounder night-in, night-out, that'll just help his mentality to dominate a game.
Did he look in shape?
Yeah, he was great.
Perception that Dwight wants to go somewhere there's warm weather place?
I do too (laughs). But it just might not happen for me. I love the warm weather.
Believe that he would rule out Brooklyn?
I don't think so.
Think he would sign if traded here?
I'm sure he would, yeah. Fifth year. Play with me. I'm sure he would.
They make a move like that you're not going anywhere?
That would be enough to convince me. I'm convinced.
If that doesn't happen, what would be the next thing that has to happen?
I don't even know. There's so much that can happen. Say we don't get the big free agent right away, there still could be something done by the trade deadline. There's going to be amnesties. Maybe not this year, but next year.
Deron and Dwight Howard teamed to help Team USA win gold at the 2008 Olympics. D-Will is hopeful they can reunite with the Nets.
Q: What do you remember about playing with Dwight in the Olympics? A: He's a monster. He's like a created player. He's not real.
Why are you taking different approach than other stars on expiring deals?
I think (Paul) is in a different situation I think in New Orleans. His situation and mine is not the same – I'm in a bigger market, more attractive for free agents. …I think there's other ways to go about it. If you want a trade you go to the front office, you don't tell the whole world.
What about Nene?
He's another good piece. I was talking about Tyson being a good defender, but I think Nene's a good defender too, but not as imposing because of his length, but I had to go up against him a lot in the Western Conference in the playoffs. He can guard multiple positions. He's good at pick-and-roll defense. He's a little better offensively than Tyson. He's more of a scorer. He's got a great touch around the basket, a great finisher. Good at pick-and-rolls. He can pop and hit a jumper. So he's a little better offensively.
Do you know Nene?
What about current Nets?
I don't know much about the rookies because I don't watch college basketball, to tell you the truth.
But MarShon, I Youtubed him after I saw who we drafted and his game, he has a good game. I feel like he could be a Jamal Crawford-type player. Scorer. Off the bench, maybe. But he'll be a good player for us. Morrow, definitely. I would definitely want to keep Anthony on my team. Every point guard wants a shooter like that. He's a point guard's dream, somebody that just knocks down shots all the time.
Damion James is a good piece too. He could play the three and could also play the 4 a little bit in some spots when teams go small. He's a great rebounder. I talked about Brook already. Brook could be very talented, a perennial all-star.
Do you want to meet with potential free agents?
I don't know what the rules are but yeah, I'll definitely want to be there.
Would you fly to Brazil?
Is that where he's going? Nene's bigtime then. No I wouldn't go to Brazil. I wouldn't make that trip. I've done enough international travel. Especially when training camp is in four days, that would mess my clock all back up.
Reports about Dallas maintaining cap to make run at you. How enticing is going back home?
I always thought about it when I was in Utah when I became a free agent it's possible I'll go there. But like I said, I have no clue as to what teams I'd look at if I didn't sign here. There's no reason to even think about it. It's so far away.
So what about the Knicks?
It'd be tough to leave here and go there.
So it's unlikely?
It's unlikely. It's unlikely. Anything is possible, I guess. I could sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves if I wanted to play with Kevin Love.