The end of the Slam Dunk contest on Saturday night signified the end of any Washington Wizards involvement here at NBA All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. My plan was to attend the game, tweet a little during, and then hang around the media scrum afterward to see if I could snag something interesting. Luckily for me, something interesting fell right into my lap involving Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz.
First, a little background. A week and a half ago when Jerry Sloan resigned, there were rumors and reports that Williams was the reason. At halftime of a game against the Bulls, Williams and Sloan had argued (as they had several times during the year, and as Sloan has done with other players, such as Karl Malone, many times before), and when Sloan retired the next morning, Williams was essentially blamed. He was not happy about it at all. Williams lashed out at the media and named names over the radio airwaves on KFAM 1320AM:
All those guys, Ric Bucher, Chris Broussard, they’re all in our locker room everyday. I’ll let them report what they want to report, that’s what they are paid to do. That’s why I’m always short and rude with the media, because they’re your friend. Ric comes in and sits by me every time I see him, acts like he’s my friend, but the day they find something they want to spin, they jump on it. That’s why I am the way I am and will continue to be the way I am.
I had just talked to Williams about a month earlier in Washington, and he was nothing but forthcoming to both myself and David Aldridge. Even when I talked to Williams after the All-Star practice this past Saturday, he didn’t appear short or rude. Rather, his answers were expansive and thoughtful, and I appreciated his time.
But Sunday, after the All-Star game, Williams was asked about something Ken Berger of CBS Sports.com, had written in an article earlier that evening. Berger wrote the following:
A person with knowledge of the conversations told CBSSports.com on Saturday that Jazz point guard Deron Williams began informing close associates after last season that if Stoudemire wound up in New York, Williams would follow him there as a free agent in 2012.
A member of the media asked Williams about Berger’s article, and that’s when I turned my camera on:
Kudos to Ken Berger for not giving up his sources. Time will only tell if he’s right or not, because Williams would be foolish to telegraph any future moves he plans on making. Still, to see the thoughts of unnamed sources, the writer who used them in an article, and the player it was about all in the same room, was simply priceless.