Shawne Williams practiced with the Nets for the first time Friday, just a day after spurning the Knicks for a move to New Jersey.
“It was a career decision and mostly a business decision,” Williams said. “But I want to thank the Knicks organization -- (Jim) Dolan, Mike (D’Antoni), Allan (Houston), everybody -- for just giving me a chance over there. It was a tough decision. But I feel like I made the right decision for me and my family and me and my career.”
The Nets signed Williams Thursday to a deal reportedly worth $6.1 million over two years. In addition, they signed Ime Udoka while waiving Travis Outlaw with the amnesty clause. In New York, Williams would have been buried behind Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. Coming to the Nets certainly offered an opportunity for the sharp-shooting Williams, who resurrected his career in New York last season. New Jersey offered Williams a chance at more money and potentially more playing time.
“I’m not saying I wouldn’t have no minutes in New York,” he said. “There were minutes there too. I just feel like it was the best decision for my career, making myself better as a player and trying to take it to the next level.”
Williams was traded, with Kris Humphries, to the Nets for Eduardo Najera in January 2010. A few days later, Williams faced a felony drug indictment and was cut by the Nets. He rebuilt his image in New York and emerged into a solid role player.
He played both small and power forward in New York and is expected to play the same role this season with his new team. Williams adds another shooter to the Nets lineup. He shot 40.1 percent from behind the 3-point line in 64 games with the Knicks last season. Williams, however, said it doesn’t matter where he plays.
“A guy like me, I’ll play anywhere,” he said. “I don’t care if I play the 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1. I don’t care. I just know I want to play and I want to help this team win.”
Williams could have some competition, however, as the Nets are reportedly interested in bringing back Kris Humphries and possibly adding Deron Williams’ former Utah Jazz teammate Andrei Kirilenko.
It’ll also be a quick turnaround before Williams sees his former team. The Nets host the first of two preseason games against the Knicks Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark. Nets coach Avery Johnson said Williams appeared to be in decent shape during practice and would likely see some time Saturday.
Notes: Johnson revealed his starting lineup for Saturday’s contest with no surprises: Deron Williams, Anthony Morrow, Damion James, Shelden Williams and Brook Lopez. Jones, who practically spent the entire season last year with a broken foot, said that he learned a lot about the speed of the game while watching from the bench.
Like Shawne Williams, James will be used at the small and power forward spots. With talks of Humphries and Kirilenko, it’s an area the Nets are looking to improve. James said he arrived at training camp expecting to be in the starting lineup and welcomed the challenge of the Nets possibly acquiring Kirilenko.
“That’s cool,” he said. “We need help man. That’ll be great. Kirilenko can come in or whatever. I look forward to playing against him everyday (in practice). But I’ll see what happens. I don’t want to just hand him that spot. I think coach is gonna make him earn it and I’m going to make him earn it. Now if he comes in and plays better than me, then cool. But right now I’m just focused on what I need to do to help this team.”
Maybe he won’t have to worry about Humphries though, since Kim Kardashian’s ex, was offered a spot on the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch, a minor-league affiliate of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.