D-Will: The Real Winner Of the Lockout

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — When the lockout stretches for five months and takes as many dramatic twists and cynical turns as the recently ended 149-day odyssey we’ve all lived through since July 1, trying to designate “winners and losers” is a trivial pursuit we’d normally pass on around here.

But there’s more than just a new collective bargaining agreement rising from the ashes of the lockout. There’s a true winner in all of this, a man that blazed his own trail and gave his doubters the index finger over the lips sign for questioning his actions all those months ago.

You remember Nets point guard Deron Williams announced in July that he was headed to Turkey if the lockout stretched into the start of the NBA season. Folks chuckled at the idea of one of the league’s biggest stars scurrying halfway around the world to play for a team they’d barely heard of (Besiktas made headlines here in the states last season when they signed Allen Iverson to a contract) in a league they’d never heard of.

Comments blasting Williams for what appeared to be at the time a perplexing, panic move by an A-list player in the prime of his career turned out to be a masterstroke for Williams. Not only did he dazzle in his 15 games with Besiktas, averaging 21.8 points and 6.5 rebounds, he left Istanbul a hero, one with his No. 8 Besiktas jersey retired (check him out in the video above) and with a coach who speaks of him in a way usually reserved for a Hall of Famer:

“European basketball had a thrill during the NBA lockout,” Besiktas coach Ergin Ataman told the Hurriyet Daily News. “A star player like Deron wore the Besiktas jersey; many children came to love basketball thanks to him. Now, everything will be back the way it used to be.”

Williams also left with some nice pocket change (his reported salary in Turkey was $200,000 every four weeks) to make up for the NBA checks missed during the month and a half’s worth of NBA games missed due to the labor negotiations.

Williams returns just in time for the Christmas Day start to the NBA season, richer, wiser and in an even better position than he might have been if he decided not to play the role of trailblazer in this instance. So if there’s a player in better game shape heading into the NBA’s abbreviated training camps around the league, we want to see him. And if there’s a player with better leverage going into this season, he needs to show himself.

Williams chose not to sign a contract extension with the Nets and instead will resume his role as one of the two or three most coveted free agents in the game after this season. By opting out and becoming a free agent after the season, Williams could re-sign with the Nets for five years and $100 million or he could receive a four-year, $70 million deal from another team, per the new rules of the collective bargaining agreement to be.

That’s a budget boost of roughly $30 million for the guy crazy enough to assume that the lockout might actually take a little while to get solved and he needed a lucrative alternative that allowed him to train and compete at a high level while he waited.

(Keep in mind, this is the same man who pleaded the case all along that had the union threatened decertification right away the lockout might have ended even sooner.)

Now that he’s back home, the Nets are reportedly pursuing the likes of Dwight Howard (via some blockbuster trade) and free agent bigs Tyson Chandler and Nene, in an effort to entice Williams to stick around for the move to the Brooklyn in 2012-13.

Any way you slice it, Williams emerges from the lockout WINNING!


  1. SYDALE says:

    Kudos to my favorite PG in the league… He’d be winning even more if the Nets can convince Nene, Tayshaun Prince and maybe even Jason Richardson to all join the team… That’d be a formidable starting lineup… All can score and all can play decent defense…

    C- Brook Lopez
    PF- Nene
    SF- Tayshaun Prince
    SG- Jason Richardson
    PG- Deron Williams

  2. Knickfan#1 says:

    I have no doubt d-will is the best pg in the NBA… sorry, in the world… very wise move for Deron going play overseas, let me say this, NBA is better than European basketball, obviously, but mostly because NBA carries the best athletes and individual players, also bigger market and bigger paychecks, but Overseas leagues are highly competitive and the 1 on 1 doesn’t work over there.. D-will’s vision of Basket just got expanded I look forward to see him having a great season…by the way, compare to Besiktas, the Nets are Pathetic

  3. nba is back! says:

    d will is better than any pg in the game, except for drose. I don’t care what leauge he was in, he was playing organized ball. Not all that flashy pick up game tours lebron was playing(and this is a heat fan saying this). d will will be one of the most the prepared this season(notices that i said “one of”). expect a breakout season.

  4. burrguana says:

    what? they have sports in other countries?

  5. salih eroglu says:

    Deron did the smart move. He took the risk and won. Turkish League is tough and challenging. He is already prepare for NBA. Turks in USA will support him.

  6. Besiktas-Fan says:

    Thanks D-Will, for all what you have done during this short period of time. Istanbul will always welcome you whenever you decide to drop by.

  7. Fr3D says:

    I think D-Will is way better than CP3, he just doesn’t get the recognition, why I don’t know, now he’s a legend in Turkey and his time spent abroad will probably give him a better outlook on things than most players in the NBA.

  8. Drew says:

    You morons that actually think euroball is as good as the NBA are totally wrong. Give me a break, we are not ignorant, we just know the facts. NBA is the best league around. There is no way a euro team would compete with any NBA team in a seven game series. And I am not a arrogant american, I just know the NBA is hands down the best league. And Euro soccer is the best soccer league around. No MLS team could compete with a euro team.

  9. Anthony says:

    Great move williams.While the rest were at home playing video games you were getting PAID..

  10. John says:

    @cisco..We agree the Euroleague is the 2nd best league in the world and that’s the point. In head to head competition between the Euroleague and the NBA, the NBA has won 65+ games versus less than 15 losses. Where do I get this stat? The Euroleague website. The NBA champion is THE World Champion. That is reality. Having said that, I am glad international stars come to play in the NBA.

  11. Adam says:

    D-Will is one star with a happy face who attracts children from everywhere to the basketball court. Thanks Deron for making us love this game more.

  12. Kev says:

    I think to say you’ve never heard of Besiktas or Euro League is pretty ignorant. I watch both the Euro League and the NBA, they entertain on an equal level, in their own ways. I know some teams in the Euro League who could make it into the NBA playoffs…and I know some teams in the NBA who would struggle in the Euro League. So if you guys really paid attention to other people’s business then you’d find out that the Euro League has closed the gab on the NBA…GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT!

  13. Whatever they say about him, he’s still one of the elite point guards in the NBA. I’m a D-Will fan but I’m not bias, if most of us are in his position then I think we’ll do the same thing. It’s still recession, ring a bell?

  14. FINALLY says:

    the old website is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Levo says:

    It would take a very long trip to watch Deron live in States but it only took an hour flight to Istanbul to watch him orchestrate on the court. Thx. Deron.

  16. Matt says:

    $200,000.00 every four weeks… $200,000.00. every. four. weeks.

  17. Mossy says:

    I’m not a Deron Williams fan at all, but boy is the guy smart. It was pretty apparent early on that this was a serious lockout, not just a minor squabble, and Williams seems to have come out ahead of everyone else. Bravo, sir!

  18. Stephen says:

    @Cisco I do definitely agree with you, that Americans are too arrogant, but I also think the the NBA is as close to a world championship as possible. Let me put it this way: if you put Deron Williams, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, etc…etc….on the same team, and if they actually cared and trained for a game against a European team…..well, that would be the Olympics and we all know how that turns out. I don’t doubt that the European League is decent and maybe could give NBA teams a run for their money….but saying they are equal to the NBA teams is like saying the MLS is equal to the Premier League.

  19. imad akel says:

    yeah, but nobody likes williams…
    even rondo’s more likeable
    williams seems like a CP3 wanna-be

    • j kwon says:

      what are you talking about… your a fool.. DWill is the best PG in the game.. He just gets no credit cuz he was on the Jazz and is now on one of the worst teams in the league.. Hes the only PG averaging 20/10 every year.. Who else can you say that about.. Rose shouldnt even be a PG, and CP3 gets smashed everytime he faces DWill

  20. Stace says:

    At least someone “loves the game”.

  21. Cisco says:

    Well, he went playing in a league you guys never heard of and for a team you barely heard, because you’re kind of ignorant when it comes to things, people, places, sports and mostly anything else outside U.S.
    When a NBA, NFL or whatever American team wins championships, it’s being called “world champion”… 🙂
    As for Besiktas or other big European basketball team, it might cause serious problems to a NBA team on a 5 out of 7 battle.

    • Sharon says:

      I agree with your comment. Ignorance and arrogance towards things outside of our country is a serious problem in the U.S.

    • I totally agree with you Cisco. Although i am replaying from Angola, I have been following the NBA for fifteen years. In fact US is the No 1 in basketball but what you can’t forget is the fact that there are very good players in the NBA teams who came from European teams, suc as Pau Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki,Danilo Gallinari,Goran Dragic, Hidayet “Hedo” Turkoglu, Thabo Sefolosha, Predrag “Peja” Stojakovic. I could also add some old school palyers; Vlad Divac, Petrovic,
      As for Deron Williams, if he managed to play for Besiktas, that’s good. No matter what he did he is returning to NBA as a hero, a star, thanks to his performance. And he might also be returning into a better physical fitness comparing to most of the players who stayed in the US, i guess.

    • Jin says:

      Only thing wrong with your comment is that a Best of 7 goes to 4 not 5 lol.

      Other than that I completely agree with you.