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Joe Johnson surprised by Deron Williams buyout

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Joe Johnson, speaking publicly for the first time since Deron Williams received a buyout, said he was surprised by Williams' departure from the Brooklyn Nets this summer.

“I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen -- if I was going to get traded, if he was going to get traded,” Johnson said Monday at Nets media day. “I didn’t really know. But I didn’t see that coming -- him getting bought out. I don’t know if it was that bad. It’s not that bad here. To want to get bought out, I couldn’t really put my finger around that one. But I hear that he’s happy and that’s the most important thing. He’s back home, so good for him.”

(For what it’s worth, Johnson’s former teammate, Tyshawn Taylor, who is now out of the NBA, didn’t believe the veteran swingman, tweeting “Lol no he not” before eventually deleting the tweet. Sources have told ESPN.com and other outlets that Johnson wasn’t exactly fond of Williams.)

Johnson said he hasn’t spoken to Williams since the point guard left the Nets and signed with the Dallas Mavericks.

“What [did] he have, like two years left on his deal?” Johnson said. “I don’t know if he wanted the buyout or they just bought him out. I don’t know. I’m just saying if he wanted to get bought out, I don’t think it was that big of a deal.”

More than three years ago, Johnson and Williams were celebrated as one of the best backcourts in the NBA during an elaborate news conference at Brooklyn Borough Hall. But the Nets’ lofty expectations never came to fruition.

“I’m a bit disappointed that it didn’t work out how we planned,” Johnson said. “Not necessarily with me and Deron, but I think the second year when we got Paul [Pierce] and Kevin [Garnett]. I really thought [a championship] was realistic, and to come up short the way we did that was the most disappointing thing because I knew that was probably honestly our chance to come out of the East, but we didn’t. That was disappointing, but we’ve gotta move on, and with this young group of guys try to see how far we can get.”

Johnson, 34, is entering the final year of his contract. He does not believe this season -- his 15th in the league -- will be his last.

“God willing, as long as I’m healthy I’ll continue to play," he said. "I don’t think it’s my last, but we’ll see."