Posted Oct 24, 2012 12:20 PM
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- It would have been easier to go home.
When you're a young couple with four kids between the ages of one and nine, space and family support are good things to have. Your kids need room to run and play, and you need someone to help out when Dad is traveling and Mom needs to run some errands ... or just run.
Deron Williams and his wife Amy would have had plenty of space and plenty of support had he decided to sign with the Dallas Mavericks this summer. His family would have had a big house with a big yard to play in. And they would have had grandparents nearby, ready to babysit whenever needed.
"I love New York, but I think I definitely would have been more comfortable living in Dallas," Williams told NBA.com recently. "It is easier. I'm not saying that New York isn't, but it's just not as easy."
Living in New York is one thing. Actually finding a place for a family of six is whole 'nother problem.
"I was stressed out for a little bit, because I had been looking for places here and in Dallas," Williams said. "It was easy to find one there. I found one in, like, two days. Here, I've been looking for two years."
Williams actually signed a contract on a home in Dallas, and was ready to move back to where he grew up and met his future wife. Dallas had Dirk Nowitzki and grandma, cap space and outdoor space.
And fortunately, real estate contracts have contingency clauses, because when the time came for Williams to make his free agency decision, he would have to back out of that real estate deal. The Brooklyn Nets traded for Joe Johnson, the Mavs failed to show Williams a strong enough plan for the future, and the All-Star point guard decided he'd only be playing one game a year in the place he grew up.
Williams has made it clear that his choice to go to Brooklyn with the Nets was a basketball decision. After a year and a half of struggles, the Nets have a solid supporting cast around their point guard. And it doesn't hurt that New York provides additional marketing opportunities.
But Williams wouldn't be wearing black and white if his other supporting cast, starting with his wife, wasn't entirely comfortable with being New Yorkers.
Though King knew all along that he'd have to put together a better roster to convince Williams to stay, he's quick to acknowledge that Amy's ease with being a city mom played a part in Williams' decision.
"I know it did," King said. "I think it was a situation where they had to feel comfortable as a family, where they could make it work as a unit."
It was Amy's idea to live in the city, rather than in the Jersey suburbs, in the first place. And a quick glance at her twitter feed, which features a myriad of scenes from around New York, is all you need to know that she's happy where she is. After Williams tweeted out a Nets logo to tell the world which team he had chosen on July 3, his wife quickly followed with a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge, tweeting, "Will be running over this bridge a lot in the next couple years!"
"She was comfortable either way," Williams said. "She just wanted me to make a decision based on what I felt was comfortable with basketball. She was happy wherever. She was really great about it."
The Williams are still renting in downtown Manhattan, but they've got a place lined up to purchase and renovate to their specifications. It's a location that makes it easy enough for Williams to get to the Nets' practice facility in East Rutherford and to Barclays Center in Brooklyn. More important, it works for his wife.
"When I'm gone, it's easier for her to get out and walk," Williams said. "She's a runner and she likes to run on the West Side Highway. She likes the city life."
The kids, with their friends and school within walking distance, like it too. And though Williams will acknowledge that Dallas would be easier, he's happy where his family is happy.
"Everything you want is in city, you name it," he said. "Restaurants, stuff for the kids. Parks on every other corner. Dog parks on every other corner for our dog. There's all types of play places. There are so many different things for them to do."
Williams is an All-Star point guard, but first, he's a husband and dad. And now, he's a Texas boy making a home in New York.
"I love the city," he said. "I don't think there's a place like it. It's just a different lifestyle."
John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.
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