The Brooklyn Nets had perhaps the league’s most eventful offseason, with trades big enough that their star player didn’t even believe they were going down.
Deron Williams knew that Nets general manager Billy King was going after Paul Pierce (which has been no secret for about two years), and believed a trade for Pierce — and only Pierce — was already done.
Then King called him to tell him he was looking to acquire Kevin Garnett as well, and Williams had his doubts.
“I’m like ‘there’s no way you can do it,'” Williams said of their conversation. “That’s what I said. I was like, ‘Shut up.’ I almost hung up on him. There’s no way you can get both of them.”
But sure enough, it became a reality. The Nets acquired Pierce and Garnett in a trade agreed to on draft night, and made official two weeks later. The team held four days of informal workouts in Los Angeles hosted by Paul Pierce, playing basketball and working out during the day, and having team dinners at night.
Pierce has spoken about getting Williams into the MVP conversation, and coach Jason Kidd set a statistical benchmark of ten assists per game for the team’s leader. Williams accepts the challenge. “I look forward to it… Paul, KG, and JET (Jason Terry), they all want me to be the best I can be. They’ve told me. So I’m not going to try to do any less just because they’re here.”
Williams said all this at Dodge Barrage, his annual celebrity dodgeball tournament, while standing in a walking boot. He sprained his ankle and suffered a bone bruise about three weeks ago while working out at his home in Utah, but the injury isn’t serious. According to him, he even worked out the next day.
“If it was up to me i’d be walking around right now, because i can walk fine,” Williams said. “It doesn’t hurt. It’s just more protecting me from myself I guess. If you see my Instagram videos, I do a lot of stupid stuff.”
The boot is preventative, and you can’t blame the Nets for being cautious. Williams suffered synovitis in both ankles last year, and he acknowledged that he’s got inflammation in his ankle again. Williams will undergo an MRI next week to reassess his status, and he plans to be ready for training camp October 1st.
“It’s frustrating because I wanted to be hooping with the guys right now,” Williams said.
“As long as I’m ready for (the regular season), that’s all that matters to me. But I’ll be ready for camp.”