December 02, 2010
NBA players are usually young, well-paid, and from disadvantaged backgrounds. More times than not, that means they like to splurge on cars and other toys when they get their first contracts. It's only natural: When you get money for the first time, you don't just want to let it sit around.
Someone might want to tell Harvey Araton of The New York Times that this is a common occurrence. Because according to him, Terrence Williams(notes) has faltered with the Nets because he spends too much money off the court:
Williams had a difficult childhood. His parents were jailed. His father was murdered. Home life in Seattle was transient and crowded. When he finally had money, he rented a 3,575-square-foot town house on the Hudson for $7,000 a month that Vince Carter, a high-end earner, was going to buy before he was traded to Orlando.
Maybe a couple of weeks in Springfield will teach Williams that a wise young player knows his place and role.
In case you're bad with numbers, the cost of that town house comes out to $84,000 per year, or roughly four percent of the $2.37 million Williams will make this season. Furthermore, the Carter comparison is silly — as any American knows, the difference between renting and buying a property can be huge. In this case, it's not as if Williams blew his entire contract on an unneeded luxury. I'm sure it's a very nice place, but it's still a house, not an amphibious sports car that shoots lasers out of its headlights.
As my compatriot Mr. Dwyer noted last weekend, Williams was recently demoted to the D-League because he's often late to team functions and just hasn't been very successful on the court this season. Perhaps he feels entitled to more playing time than he's received, but that doesn't mean that he's having trouble because he's resting on his newly humongous bank account.
Williams is 23 years old and has money for the first time in his life. Like most young NBA players, he's earned the right to live in a comfortable home. If he's playing poorly, then the problem likely does not rest in the square footage of his town house.
It's entirely possible that T-Will needs to find a solid role on the Nets as a statsheet-stuffing forward rather than a scorer. But lots of rookies rent — or even buy — nice houses and do just fine for themselves. Williams doesn't need to prove himself in order to get himself a good place to live. He already earned that privilege by working his way out of poverty and being selected in the first round of the draft.