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Kobe Bryant sticks up for Deron Williams

Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets, Game 7

HOUSTON - MAY 5: Head coach Jerry Sloan talks with Deron Williams #8 of the Utah Jazz in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2007 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center May 5, 2007 in Houston, Texas. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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There has become a “Deron Williams pushed Jerry Sloan out” meme going around.

Which is a very Internet way of trying to make a complex situation some kind of simple narrative. D-Will was part of the equation but there is a lot more going on here.

Anyway, Kobe Bryant stuck up for Williams when speaking with Yahoo.

“People need to leave D-Will the [expletive] alone on this,” Kobe Bryant told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday night. Bryant and Williams have competed in the Western Conference for years and won an Olympic gold medal together for USA Basketball at the 2008 Beijing Games. “Leave him alone. He doesn’t deserve to be at the front of this. That’s horse…. He’s a great competitor. He works his butt off. He’s always been a great leader. He’s clutch, performs under pressure. Enjoy the 23 great years that Jerry Sloan gave them, but don’t put this on Deron Williams.”

Was Williams happy? No. Did concerns of management about losing Williams in a couple years play into this? Yes. Did Sloan decide to walk away rather than fight this battle anymore? Almost certainly. You can decide how much of what fit in where, those are your basic ingredients. But Kobe is right, t’s not so simple as “Williams drove out Sloan.”