NEW YORK -- Dallas Mavericks point guard Deron Williams said he was "disappointed" about not getting the chance to face his former team, the Brooklyn Nets, for Wednesday night's 119-118 overtime win at Barclays Center due to a strained hamstring. Williams, who suffered the injury on Tuesday night in Toronto, will undergo an MRI Thursday.
"You only come here once," said Williams. "And it's my first time back, so it's definitely frustrating missing this game because I wanted to be out there with my teammates."
Williams said it was "weird" when he arrived at his former home arena, "but as soon as I got off [the bus] there were about six people I knew. So just kinda saying hi to them and talking to them, there's definitely a lot of people I miss in this organization. I was here about three, four, five years. You form relationships and you get used to being around certain people, so you definitely miss them."
Brooklyn fans have a lot of animosity toward Williams. The Nets built their franchise around him, but his tenure in Brooklyn never worked out as hoped, mostly due to injuries and inconsistency. The Nets, who never advanced past the second round of the playoffs with Williams despite three consecutive postseason appearances, elected to buy him out at the end of last season, and Williams ultimately signed with his hometown Mavericks.
"I think the way I played was disappointing for fans," Williams said. "When you're given a max deal and you don't perform to it, especially in New York, you're going to hear [boos]. So I understand. I wish things were different. I wish it would have worked out differently, but I can't control that. I just have to move forward."
Williams contemplated retirement because he was so miserable playing for Brooklyn.
"You only come here once. And it's my first time back, so it's definitely frustrating missing this game because I wanted to be out there with my teammates."Deron Williams
"It was just the injuries," he said. "I felt like I didn't know if I was ever going be healthy again. That was the thing: It was hard for me to walk upstairs, hard for me to have a normal life with just how I felt. That was the thing that took a toll on me the most, but I'm feeling a lot better now, so that's not even an option. I felt a lot better, my mindset is a lot better, I'm happier in Dallas, I'm happy where I am right now and I enjoy playing with this team."
Williams said he was surprised by Brooklyn's record, now 8-21 after Wednesday's loss to the Mavs.
"Definitely, they have a lot of talent on the team, so it's definitely surprising to see them where they're at right now, but the East is tough. It's like I go to the West and it kinda flip flops," Williams joked. "The East is a lot of good teams, a lot of those young teams like Orlando and Charlotte who've kinda just been solidly improving, slowly improving. They're taking that next step so you're seeing kinda a shift."