Deron Williams made waves when he became the first NBA All-Star to agree to play in Europe if the NBA lockout goes on into the 2011-12 NBA season, but he isn't doing it for the money. According to the New Jersey Nets point guard, he's doing it for the experience.
Williams talked to ESPN's Chris Broussard on Saturday and dispelled any notions that he agreed to play for Besiktas in Turkey next season for the money -- a reported deal that could be worth up to $5 million if he plays there for a full year.
"It's ridiculous," Williams said in the interview. "We've known this lockout's coming. I have plenty of money saved for the lockout purpose. Now, I don't even need to touch that money. I can invest that money. I can go grow that money. It's not something that's money-driven."
So if it isn't about the money, why did Williams decide to take his talents to Europe rather than relax at home while watching his money grow?
"It's more about the experience. Experience and being able to compete and play basketball. I don't want to sit around. That's what the NBA wants us to do right now. They locked us out of our gyms, they locked us out of facilities. We got to go find somewhere on our own to go hoop, to put games together," Williams said. "I don't have to do that. I've got a team. I'm going to go through organized practices. I'm going to be in game situations. So if the lockout is lifted, I'm going to be ready to play."
Though the experience sounds nice, it's been said that Williams could be risking the Nets voiding his contract if their star player is injured overseas. Williams points out that playing in Turkey isn't more risky than anything else he could be doing until the NBA returns, however.
"People say, 'Oh, you're going to get hurt,'" Williams said. "I can get hurt playing at (the University of San Diego) or wherever I'm at. I can get hurt walking down these steps. Of course, that's a big part of it. But I also did my due diligence, researched insurance. I'll be covered."
The last issue, then, would be how his leaving to Europe will affect Williams' NBA brethren that don't make the trek -- and, more specifically, how it affects the NBA Players Association's bargaining efforts being led by Billy Hunter.
"I talked to Mr. Hunter and he said he supported it," Williams said. "He was happy for me. He thought I made a great decision, a business decision. He was behind me."
Interestingly enough, the preceding statement unsurprisingly proves ESPN's Stephen A. Smith absolutely wrong.