Facebook Twitter

Utah Jazz: Deron Williams sad to say goodbye

SHARE Utah Jazz: Deron Williams sad to say goodbye
Deron Williams (8)

Deron Williams (8)

Mike Terry, Deseret News

OAKLAND, Calif. — He doesn't like it, but Deron Williams knows trades come with the territory.

"It stinks that these things happen in the NBA," Williams said Friday, one day after the Jazz dealt close friend and starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer to Memphis for a protected 2011 first-round draft choice.

This particular trade, however, left Williams particularly offended — so much so he questioned the team's thinking and suggested it could influence the length of his future with the franchise.

The All-Star point prefaced Friday's remarks by saying, "I haven't really got nothing much good to say about the trade, so ..."

He hardly stopped there.

"I think if we made a trade, it would be something a little different than that," Williams said after morning shootaround before Friday's game against Golden State.

"You know," he added, "you look at all the teams that are getting better around the West, and we essentially get worse, if you ask me."

Asked how that might impact his long-term thinking, the answer from Williams — who clearly was miffed someone so close was let go — was terse.

"That's why I signed a three-year deal," said Williams, who could have extended for as many five seasons, but instead in 2008 chose three guaranteed starting with this season with a player option for 2012-13.

Williams said it was "pretty safe" to say teammates shared his frustrations.

"Everybody's upset," said swingman C.J. Miles, another of Brewer's good friends, "but I think it's more of a friendship thing."

Brewer, a regular starter for two-plus seasons, made his Memphis debut Friday at home vs. Miami.

Wearing a yellow headband and matching wristbands — apparel banned in Utah by coach Jerry Sloan — he came off the bench and got going with a basket inside.

But Brewer exited in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be a serious hamstring injury. The Grizzlies were calling it a strain, but Brewer was removed from the FedEx Forum court on a cart.

How that affects his future in Memphis is uncertain.

Brewer will be a restricted free agent in the offseason, but the Grizzlies made the trade thinking he may be part of their long-term plans — even if he must play behind O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay.

"I gave up a first-round draft pick," Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley told The (Memphis Commericial Appeal), "so obviously I think he can play for us."

Brewer, a first-rounder himself, played nearly four years in Utah and befriended many.

"We were pretty close friends, but I know it's part of the business of the game. Everybody knows anybody could have been traded, anything could have happened," Miles said. "I don't think we should let it (affect team play). But it's tough. Don't get me wrong — I'm not saying we shouldn't be upset about it, because he's a great player, he's done a lot for this team."

"Ronnie Brewer is like a little brother to me," Williams added, "so it was definitely tough to see him go."

Williams said he had only about "two seconds" to say goodbye to Brewer, and that the Jazz's charter from New Orleans to California without him "was probably one of the quietest flights we've had, because we were in shock."

"This is not the first time he's (joked about being traded)," Williams said, "so I was like, 'Stop playing.' ... He was like, 'No, I'm for real.' ... When he started getting his bags, I realized he was for real."

Jazz players, Sloan suggested Friday, really need to get over the hard feelings.

"They all get paid," he said, "and as long as they get their paycheck, they should be ready to play basketball.

"A lot of guys get attached to players, and they're comfortable with them, and they don't like to be traded, but those things happen."

Sloan — who learned of the trade from Brewer because of a missed phone call, a situation he called "awkward" — didn't think the Jazz would make a deadline-day deal Thursday.

But they did, and now he thinks it's time for everyone to move on.

"Once something like that happens ... you just go play basketball," he said. "You can feel sorry for yourself, or whatever the case may be, but just go on and play.

"I was serious when I said I'm not crazy about making trades, but if that's what has to be done, whatever we do, let's go on and do it and go on about our business.

"I would always prefer to keep guys," Sloan added, "unless it's a decision that helps our team somewhere along the line, and obviously that's what we felt."

e-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com