Deron Williams Talks to ESPN Stephen A. Smith About #Nets Coaching Change

Updated: December 28, 2012

Stephen A Smith of ESPN spoke with Deron Williams today in the wake of his coach being fired and everyone pointing fingers directly at the point guard as the main culprit in the decision. Coaches around the league seem to think that Williams is tough to coach and has a way of hurting a locker room with his pouting and prima donna attitude.

Avery Johnson

“First of all, I have not had one conversation with [King] about not being happy with Avery, wanting him gone, etc.,” Williams told me Thursday, just hours after Johnson was fired. “It’s not my fault. But as soon as I heard the news, I knew what was coming. I knew folks would blame me, would assume that it’s history repeating itself because of what was said about Coach Sloan and me after he resigned.

Deron Williams, Avery Johnson and the Nets couldn’t sustain the momentum they built in November.

“The last thing I would want to do is get Coach Johnson fired. Any coach, for that matter.

“Coach Johnson is a big reason why I came back to the Nets this summer, along with Billy. I enjoyed playing for him last year. We never had a argument or a fight. We never got into it, on or off the court. I don’t even know why people would assume that.”

Williams’ performance against Boston on Christmas would qualify as one of the latest reasons. He launched just seven shots, seemingly indicative of apathy more than inability.

Williams’ play, coupled with the losses, served only to highlight his apparent discontent with Johnson’s offense. The fact that Williams spoke out against that offense last week highlighted, to critics, his unwillingness to accept accountability for his own lack of productivity. But Williams refuted those theories as well.

“The comments I made about struggling with our offense started off being about Coach Sloan, because I was being interviewed about him prior to us playing versus Utah,” Williams explained. “I loved playing for Coach Sloan and his offense. At times we had disagreements and [had] fallouts, so that’s what I explained.

“I also said that I had to figure out how to play with Joe Johnson, because in my heart I know that I’m the one playing like crap. Is it Coach Johnson’s fault that I’m playing bad? Hell, no! I’m the first one to accept accountability for the way I’m playing. And my family, people who know me, know I would be the first to admit that.”

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