Ready for your your weekly reminder that Deron Williams isn't truly, madly, deeply in love with New Jersey?
We've got it. Williams sat down with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports for a lengthy interview where he spoke about the sticky situation of being a free agent in the NBA. He didn't shy away from the topic either, saying:
“People get traded all the time,” Williams told Yahoo! Sports. “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.”
You know what? Good for him.
He's right. He didn't choose to go to New Jersey. He was traded there, he's getting paid to play there and he's performing to the best of his ability each night. That's all that we can expect from NBA athletes.
We can expect for them to show up and earn their money wherever they are playing until they are free agents with the right to choose where they want to go. We don't get to expect them to want to stay in our cities, or to remain loyal to the teams that drafted them, or even to re-sign to try to reshape their hometown franchise.
We can want those things, we can say we would do those things if we were in their shoes and we can hope to hang on to superstars, but it isn't fair to expect athletes to remain loyal to franchises that don't remain loyal to them.
When LeBron James went ahead and made the decision to make "The Decision," he made a horrible mistake, but our disdain for that public misstep has taken over. We're forgetting that when athletes fulfill their contracts and become free agents, they have earned the right to dictate their future if performance, reputation and talent justifies it.
I'm over athletes feeling like they need to please everyone when it comes to these things. Fans are going to love you if you stay and a lot of them will love to hate you if you go. To go Internet meme for a moment, I'd like to remind NBAers that fans weren't with them shooting in the gym.
If Williams wants to leave New Jersey and he has the opportunity, awesome. If he ends up staying there and regretting his decision, all right. As long has he's suiting up and giving his all on the floor, the rest doesn't matter.