One current NBA player that is looking to jumpstart his NBA career is Shawne Williams, who spent the 2010-11 NBA season with the New York Knicks. Williams has had some setbacks since entering the NBA in 2006, after playing only one season of college basketball.
Williams is from Memphis, Tennessee and spent just one year at the University of Memphis, where he led Conference USA in scoring and rebounding, before declaring for the 2006 NBA Draft. The Indiana Pacers selected the forward with the 17th pick that year, looking to add some depth to their roster, as Williams can play both the guard and forward positions, as he did at Memphis.
During his rookie year, Williams was not in the regular rotation and did not help his cause after being arrested in Indianapolis on a marijuana charge. One of the other men with Williams at the time was arrested for having a stolen handgun. The Indiana Pacers suspended Williams for three games as a result of his negative behavior. Williams was a member of the Indian Pacers for two seasons before the team decided to move him elsewhere.
Before the start of the 2008-09 NBA season, Indiana Pacers' President Larry Bird traded the troubled forward to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Eddie Jones, draft picks and cash considerations. It had gotten to the point where Larry Bird was so frustrated with Williams and his problems that he had to trade him. Bird was also in the process of rebuilding the team’s image and had traded both Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson earlier.
In Dallas, Williams was with the team for 15 games, but was sent home to Memphis after not being in game shape, and the Mavericks did not want him to become a distraction in the locker room. The Mavericks eventually traded Williams, along with Kris Humphries, to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for former Mavericks' forward Eduardo Najera.
Williams was released by the Nets a few days after the trade was made, and was temporarily out of the NBA as more charges were filed against him. In January 2010, Williams was arrested in Memphis on drug charges (possession and conspiracy to sell codeine-based syrup), which he later pleaded guilty to after being federally indicted. As a result, Williams was placed on probation for six months, had to undergo mandatory drug testing, attend drug offender school and pay a fine of $10,000 to the local court.
Despite all of the legal troubles and off-the-court issues, Williams was given an opportunity by the Charlotte Bobcats during the summer of 2010 to pick up his NBA career by participating in the Bobcats' mini-camp. Williams had been out of the league since the beginning of 2010, making it almost an entire year of basketball missed.
Williams was signed by the New York Knicks to a one-year contract before the start of the 2010-11 NBA season. Williams averaged a career-high 7.1 points while playing 20.1 minutes per game for the Knicks during the regular season. He also appeared in four playoff games for the team, averaging 8.0 points per game off the bench.
Currently an unrestricted free agent, Williams may be able to find another opportunity to gain more playing time so he can look to continue his NBA career. All of this assuming that he can put his legal and off-the-court troubles behind him, and focus entirely on his professional basketball career.