During the press conference I had a thought strike me - Deron has just entered the ranks of Utah Jazz villains. On a whim I whipped up an e-mail and sent it to Henry Abbott at Truehoop:
"Deron Williams has NO IDEA how badly he's going to be hurt by this. Correct or not, the entire fan base is going to blame him for Sloan's departure and he will NEVER be forgiven. Imagine if LeBron had announced "The Decision" midway into the season and then had to play out the rest of the year in Cleveland? I'm afraid this might kind of be like that. This could get very ugly."
To my surprise, Henry asked permission to quote me and to my greater surprise, he did:
As surreal as it is to see myself quoted alongside Stockton, Lebron, and Wade I wanted to explain my thoughts a little better...
Jazz fan, and maybe Utah natives in general, are imbued with sort of a natural inferiority complex. The LDS influence, the large population of California natives - and worse, non-California native Lakers fans (shudder) - the years of being thisclose to NBA greatness, and a bunch of other baggage has us ready to jump all over anyone who seems to be taking a shot at the Jazz. Just look at the list of Jazz villains over the years, and their offenses:
Derek Harper - "You go play in Utah"
Michael Jordan - Pushed off
Derek Fisher - Used his daughter's illness as a ticket to get out of SLC and go back to the hated Lakers.*
Rony Seikaly - See Derek Harper
Steve Javie - I won't even go there
Bill Walton - Overheard saying "Oh, no" when Stockton went up for the biggest shot in Jazz history
Carlos Boozer - Going to get paid, regardless
Now try this on for size:
Deron Williams - Chased Jerry Sloan out of town - or at least made him decide it wasn't worth it anymore.
Compared to the other guys who have become a hiss and a byword in the mouth of Jazz fans, Deron's offense is probably the worst on the list. Unless there's some serious contrition coming from him in the next couple of days - which I don't see happening - I just don't see Deron escaping the same fate.
* Note: I personally disagree with this theory, but the feeling lingers in Jazz nation. Ironic, since Fish is by most accounts one of the great guys in the NBA.