But by the opening tip, the cheers subsided, and boos were audible whenever the former Jazz star touched the ball.
Still, Williams told reporters in Utah after the Nets lost to the Jazz, 116-107, on Saturday night, “it wasn’t as bad as last year.
“It’s getting better,” said Williams, who scored 21 points and added 11 assists. “Maybe next year I’ll get some boos, maybe some cheers. [I’ve got] no animosity [toward them]. I had a great time in Utah. I would never have anything bad to say about the fans. They’re gonna react the way they want to react, and think what they wanna think, and I can’t really change that, but I’ve still got a lot of love for them.”
In his return to Utah on Jan. 14, 2012, Williams shot just 3-for-15 and was vociferously booed throughout. He is now 0-4 in his career against the Jazz.
“Maybe next year will be the year [I finally beat them],” he said.
D-Will’s former coach, Jerry Sloan, was in attendance. Many believe it was Williams who was ultimately responsible for Sloan’s resignation there in February of 2011. D-Will was traded to the Nets two weeks later.
This season, though, Williams praised Sloan’s offensive system during his 5 1/2 seasons there, while essentially taking a shot at Avery Johnson’s in the process.
Johnson was fired shortly thereafter, replaced on an interim basis by P.J. Carlesimo. And Williams, who struggled through injuries during the first 50 games of the season, has turned his year around since the All-Star break.