Mo Williams was dressed down.
Baggy red T-shirt. Loose black shorts. New Orleans Saints hat. Simple, cool and easy. Like he'd just got off a flight — which he had.
Williams officially re-arrived in Salt Lake City on Monday evening, joined by Jazz CEO Greg Miller at SLC International while meeting the local media for the first time since being part of a four-team trade the day after the 2012 NBA Draft.
For five minutes, Williams calmly answered questions, speaking in a quiet but confident voice and proudly discussing his return to the Jazz. Then he was off, driving away with Miller and soon taking a picture of downtown SLC.
Williams on his thoughts when he heard there was a possibility he could return to Utah, and general manager Kevin O'Connor's statement that not matching Milwaukee's offer sheet in 2004 was the worst mistake he ever made: I know he says that a lot. But at the same time, I think that I was a young basketball player at the time. Obviously, he made a decision he thought was best for the organization and that's one thing. Like I said, I never had a bad taste in my mouth about the organization. I always respected them because they gave me a shot. I watched 30 teams pass on me in the first round in 2003. … I always had a part in my heart for the Jazz and I'm glad I'm able to come back and prove my worth to them.
Some saying he held up the trade to the Jazz: Obviously, I'm happy to be back. My agent, he's there to guide me in the right direction in those situations. Because I feel like if it's up to every player, we'll accept the first offer that's on the table. Everything sounds good to a young man that's in a great situation — to provide for their family. But an agent's job is to be kind of, 'Hey. Let's think about this, let's think about that.' You let them do their job. I was just kind of patient and it went through.
The Devin Harris trade making him Utah's starting point guard: Like I said, I'm very excited about a new start for me and a second homecoming. With the [Harris] trade, I don't know much about it. I just want to say that guys like Al [Jefferson], Paul [Millsap] — all those guys like Al from the same hometown. So, I'm excited about this year. I'm excited about the roster. I'm excited about the organization. One thing I can say is, this organization has been high on my priority list for a long time. I've always respected them from afar. So I'm happy to be back and be a part of it again.
Re-joining the Jazz marking a new era in his career: I agree. With the youth on this team, I think it's a good mix. We can say youth, but I don't think we're that young. The rookies that we've got, they're young. But we've got a good mix of guys like Al, Paul, those guys. They've got experience in this league and they've played at a high level for years. We don't expect that to stop this upcoming season.
Brian T. Smith
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