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Thursday, December 27, 2012
D-Will on Avery firing: 'It's not my fault'

By Mike Mazzeo

Deron Williams spoke candidly with Stephen A. Smith following Avery Johnson's dismissal as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

D-Will's main point? He does not believe he is to blame for Johnson's firing.

"First of all, I have not had one conversation with [Billy King] about not being happy with Avery, wanting him gone, etc.," Williams said. "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 [Jerry] Sloan and me after he resigned.

"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 spent 5½ seasons playing for Sloan in Utah. Sloan abruptly resigned on Feb. 10, 2011. Williams and Sloan had a disagreement the previous day, fueling speculation that the coach left because of his point guard.

D-Will, who is having the worst season of his career, also clarified comments he made on Dec. 18 about Johnson's offense, saying he was uncomfortable running it because it was too isolation-oriented.

"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. I loved playing for Coach Sloan and his offense. At times we had disagreements and [had] fallouts, so that's what I explained.

"Then, on the flip side, they asked me about [the Nets'] struggles, and I told them I wasn't accustomed to playing in [isolations] and one-on-one. That I'm a system guy, which is what I'm accustomed to and where I've always excelled.

"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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