Nets point guard Deron Williams called NBA commissioner David Stern a "bully," and said it made him "smile" when he heard Magic center Dwight Howard had requested a trade to play with him in New Jersey.
"He knows he's a bully, ain't no secret," Williams told reporters Sunday, when asked about Stern. "Everybody knows that."
Williams was responding to a question about Stern's nixing a three-way blockbuster trade that would've sent Hornets point guard Chris Paul to the Lakers for a package of players. The Hornets are owned by the NBA, and Stern said more pieces needed to be added to make the deal acceptable. The Lakers eventually pulled out of the trade and moved in a different direction.
"You're fighting a bully. ... David Stern's a bully," Williams said. "You can’t really go up against him.
"I think every owner of every big business is a bully," Williams continued. "That’s how they become successful."
Reports have surfaced, since denied by the NBA, that some team owners were upset about the deal and had complained to Stern about the possibility of yet another small-market team losing an All-Star to a big-market team.
Williams had expressed his shock Friday after hearing that the deal had been called off.
The Hornets were to receive Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Lamar Odom and Goran Dragic from the Lakers and Rockets. Houston was supposed to get Pau Gasol.
Williams has kept his mouth closed when asked about trade rumors surrounding the Nets and their possible pursuit of Howard. But this time, he didn't hide his feelings about the possibility of teaming up with Howard to form arguably the most dynamic center-point guard tandem in the league.
"It makes me smile a bit," Williams said.