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Been A Rough Year for Restricted Free Agent Reggie WIlliams

I finally caught up with Golden State swingman Reggie Williams, who is now a restricted free agent. Remember Reggie? The smooth, left-handed, natural scorer who emerged from the D-League as a productive reserve for the Warriors.

When I asked him if he wanted to return to the Warriors, I was surprised he didn’t pronounce his undying love for the team that finally pulled him from the minor leagues. I expected him to say his desire was to stay withGoldenState. Instead, I got:

WILLIAMS: “I don’t know, man. We’ll have to see. I love the Bay Area. But we just have to see what my options are. There could be a better situation for me. Or maybe there’s not. I just don’t know.”

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After I thought about it for a moment, it makes sense that Williams is a little hesitant about getting too excited. Over the last year, he’s had a lot to be excited about, and few things have actually panned out. Now, at 25 with about a season and a quarter under his belt, Williams is noticeably more cautious than optimistic. Why?

 * The guy who took him out ofSioux Falls,S.D.and showed an incredible amount of faith him, playing him 32.6 minutes per game as a rookie, was fired. Williams’ biggest advocate, Don Nelson, was now gone.

* The guy who replaced Don Nelson, former assistant coach Keith Smart, shaved a quarter off Williams’ minutes and often kept Williams riding the pine for long stretches. The defensive-minded Smart found himself disappointed in Williams’ D. Often after big games, Williams found himself sitting as Smart went for a different match-up. Plus, often playing point guard whenever Steph Curry was dealing with his ailing ankle, Williams seemed to be passive on the court though Smart implored him to be aggressive. Clearly, his confidence was waning.

* Smart is fired and Williams, now a free agent, is hoping he can once again become a key reserve for the Warriors. The new coaching staff representing a new opportunity for Williams to once again shine.

WILLIAMS: “I think I can learn a lot from Mark Jackson. He’s been around the NBA game for a long time. Not only in the game, but off the court as well.”

But, on draft night, Williams was hit with another bombshell. The Warriors selected Klay Thompson, also a guard-forward combo.

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WILLIAMS: “Monta, Steph and Dorell play a lot of minutes. Then they brought in another guy who plays the same position as me. Maybe they want him to back-up Monta and me to back-up Dorell. Who knows. We just have to see. I don’t know what’s going on.”

* With the lockout full blown, Williams signs to play with Caja Laboral inSpain. He signed a one-year deal for $1.5 million. He didn’t have an out clause, but he had a million-dollar buyout clause.

The idea was to go over toSpain, make some money, get better, and come back an even more desirable free agent. Didn’t work out that way.

At both the positions he plays, Williams had people ahead of him in the rotation. At shooting guard, he backed up Brad Oleson and Pau Ribas. At small forward, he and Nemanja Bjelica split leftover minutes behind Fernando San Emeterio, the reigning Player of the Year.

In the Spanish league, Williams played in seven games, averaging 4.9 points in 10.9 minutes. In the EuroLeague, he played in three games, averaging 5.3 points in 13.3 minutes.

Caja Laboral, a couple weeks ago, let Williams out of his contract. He said he didn’t have to pay the buyout price.

WILLIAMS: “Just one of them things. Me and the coach … he just wasn’t feeling me. I really don’t know why. It just didn’t work out. … If I stayed (in the U.S.) and worked out, I probably would’ve been better off.”

Williams has no idea where he would land. He wouldn’t reveal where he would like to go. But he said he wanted to see if there was a team that proved to be a better fit (particularly, a place with an opportunity for minutes).

Williams said he liked playing for the Warriors and he’s tight with his teammates, especially Curry. But you get the sense that he’s got concerns about wanting to be somewhere he’s not wanted.

The Warriors have the right to match any offer sheet Williams signs. So if they want him badly enough, they can have him.

GM LARRY RILEY: “It’s up to his agent to go out and field offers, then we’ll make a decision. We like Reggie. We like him on our team. Is there a number where that is impossible? Yes, there is.”

Williams was sure to point out he’s never been through this before, so he’s trying to keep his head about him. There is one bright side to this. Whatever happens, it will happen quickly. Free agency is less than three weeks.

WILLIAMS: “Better than sitting in Virginia sweating bullets all summer, wonder if anyone wants me or not.”

Marcus Thompson

  • Lavalovers

    Who cares , Reggie is soft, we need energy off the bench. He stunk last year. Good riddance Reggie. Start overs dubs,
    Don’t overreact on Friday though, is February a better time to trade? Who knows…….

    Get big and tough, think Knicks of the early nineties….. Is Charles Oakley available?

  • Raider Bong

    come on marcus, i love your insight but get us some word on what’s going on with the warriors regarding BIG men in free agency. multiple outlets report tyson chandler met with the dubs execs yesterday, yet theres no word of anything tyson chandler related on this blog!

    if the dubs were to get TC, they’d be automatic playoff contenders with a strong possibility of going deep in the playoffs, especially with the other western conference powers (lakers, spurs) not getting any younger.

  • Inside9

    Hey! Reggie is a great scorer. Anyone, who gets loved and then jilted gets a little down and maybe even angry. I think he’s right, Mark Jackson is just the man to help his play and shooting average soaring again.

    In this league, the three point shot man is required. He’s smooth and a great slasher too.
    People have short memories. Give me Reggie any day.

  • Niners in 2012

    Hopefully Larry Riley doesn’t trade him for a trade exception we’ll never use or a 2nd round pick that never materializes. I wish we had a GM that was more shrewd.

  • Lavalovers

    Marcus, can you talk about trading now ( this week) compared to the deadline. Which time is better for the warriors?

  • Bucky

    too bad to hear that. Reggie was always a good guy. I thought he’d have a great season in Europe.

  • http://Yahoo! PeteyBrian

    Loved having Reggie Williams on this team. Hope we get to keep him. Helped me get over losing Anthony Morrow. Elite shooter/great scorer. SOMEONE will pick him up. He’s got too much skill.

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  • Harp’s Dubs

    He and Curry are tight? Sign Reggie for 2 years for $5 mil, then trade him, Steph and Biedrins to the Hornets for CP3. I LOVE Curry, but Paul is arguably the best PG in the league. Plus, if we make that move, Tyson Chandler is very likely to sign with us. Trade Monta for Iguodala and we’ve got squad!

  • lars54

    Reggie has a nice stroke – on occasion – but not much more than that. But he’s no Kyle Korver I think that’s what the Warrior were looking for, but he doesn’t have that in him. Additionally, his footwork is bad, defense below average, and he’s pretty weak going to the hoop. I think Warriors will pass on him and let somebody else sign him. His attitude isn’t very good either, as this interview shows. The fact that this team overseas let him go is also telling. I’m guess MJack doesn’t want him back, he’s seen the game films and doesn’t like what he sees.

  • http://n/a Daddydom7

    Reggie is a very solid scorer. I really enjoyed his ability to light it up quickly from any spot on the floor. He can also go straight to the rack. His problem last year was there was no BJ runnin the offense. I hope they keep him and add a real starting or back-up point gaurd.