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Deron Williams says Nets years made him “question if I even wanted to play basketball”

Washington Wizards v Brooklyn Nets

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 18: Deron Williams #8 of the Brooklyn Nets holds his head in his hand after being fouled in the second half against the Washington Wizards at Barclays Center on December 18, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Wizards defeat the Nets 113-107. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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After being bought out by the Nets this summer, Deron Williams has gone home to Dallas and had something of a renaissance. He was traded from the Jazz to the Nets in 2011 and re-signed for a five-year max deal in 2012, but his tenure in Brooklyn was anything but successful. His production fell off, his teams underperformed, and by his own admission, he was miserable.

From Yahoo’s Michael Lee:

“It took a lot out of me, man, those three years. Some of the hardest in my life,” Williams told Yahoo Sports of his time in Brooklyn. “Made me question if I even wanted to play basketball when I was done with that contract.”

This spring, Williams’ former Nets teammate Paul Pierce told’s Jackie MacMullan that he got the same vibe from Williams in the one year they spent together:

“Before I got there, I looked at Deron as an MVP candidate,’' Pierce said. “But I felt once we got there, that’s not what he wanted to be. He just didn’t want that.

“I think a lot of the pressure got to him sometimes. This was his first time in the national spotlight. The media in Utah is not the same as the media in New York, so that can wear on some people. I think it really affected him.’'

Williams can be seen as something of a cautionary tale for superstars (and it’s easy to forget that Williams used to be one) that getting yourself to a big market isn’t always the answer. Williams’ trade to the Nets came on the heels of LeBron James leaving Cleveland for Miami and Carmelo Anthony forcing a trade from Denver to New York. If you were a star, leaving for a big market just seemed like the thing to do at the time. But for Williams, it radically altered the direction of his career, and not in a good way.