Denton: J-Will Leaves the Team

By John DentonJanuary 26, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS – Reserve point guard Jason Williams, who has been upset for weeks over his lack of playing time, did not accompany the Orlando Magic to Indianapolis for Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers for unspecified reasons and could face disciplinary action from the team.

Williams has been vocal this season about his displeasure over his lack of playing time. The 12-year NBA veteran has appeared in just 16 games all season, mostly in mop-up roles as the Magic’s third or fourth point guard.

Williams was signed late in the summer as the Magic’s third point guard, but said back in December he’s had a hard time dealing with not being a part of the regular rotation. Magic President of Basketball Operations/GM Otis Smith said that Williams’ situation will be dealt with after the team gets back to Orlando following Friday’s game in Chicago.

``Not so much in those terms of a release. We’re not into giving guys their release,’’ Smith said when asked if Williams had requested his release or a trade from the Magic. ``He signed a contract to play basketball for the Orlando Magic and we expect him to uphold his end.

``From what I gather he’s facing a personal issue,’’ Smith continued. ``I don’t know if he wants more playing time. That was talked to him about before we signed him. When we signed him we signed him as a third point guard, and that didn’t necessarily change.’’

Williams, 35, likely would have been inactive for Wednesday night’s game because of the Magic’s plan to active reserve power forward/center Malik Allen, who has been out for a month with a badly sprained ankle. Allen will serve as the Magic’s fourth big man behind Dwight Howard, Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson.

Williams had a solid 2009-10 season in Orlando, backing up starter Jameer Nelson and averaging 6.0 points and 3.6 assists while appearing in all 82 games. But his role changed when the Magic signed Chris Duhon to a free-agent deal in the offseason. And Williams feel even further down the depth chart on Dec. 18 when the Magic traded for Gilbert Arenas.

Williams, who practiced with the Magic on Tuesday in Orlando, has also battled a chronically sore left foot this season. He’s missed 19 games because of the coach’s decision, five games for personal reasons, four games because of the foot injury and one other game because of a NBA suspension for physically contacting an official during an argument.

Smith, who has counseled Williams on preparing for life after basketball, hopes the matter will be resolved by the weekend.

``We’ll deal with it when we get back to Orlando,’’ Smith said. ``I don’t know what’s going on with him personally, but there are some issues he has to work through.’’

John Denton writes for OrlandoMagic.com. E-mail John at jd41898@aol.com. Submit a question to John for his mailbag segment at AskJD@orlandomagic.com.