The Brooklyn Nets want the NBA world to know things are about to change for a franchise that was always overlooked in New Jersey. Brooklyn was a big time winner in NBA free agency after re-signing Deron Williams and trading for Joe Johnson.Despite being shocked that he was being traded from the Atlanta Hawks, Johnson opened up to the idea of playing in New York once Williams was on board to return to the Nets. Brooklyn has a lot of promise coming into this season, but this group will need some time to gel.Joe Johnson joined WFAN in New York with Joe and Evan to talk about why he thinks the Brooklyn Nets are better than the New York Knicks, almost signing with the New York Knicks two years ago in free agency, playing under more pressure in New York, being shocked when he found out that he was being traded from the Atlanta Hawks and following the Dwight Howard to the Nets rumors.
The Nets fans are already loving you by angering the Knicks fans by saying the Nets were the better team in New York right now. How do you feel about that?
“I look forward to the challenge, but to reiterate what Coach Avery Johnson said: It’s not about just winning that rivalry. We are looking for bigger things and obviously that is bringing Brooklyn a title.”
Two years ago when you were a free agent was there ever a thought of leaving Atlanta?
“No I explored my other options. Coming to New York was definitely one of them considering the fact that Mike D’Antoni was the coach of the Knicks and me and him have a great relationship, so obviously we talked a lot during that time. They were definitely on my radar.”
What are your thoughts on playing here in New York where you will be under the microscope all the time?
“It’s a blessing that I have been able to play basketball in a few different places and just to be able to explore those many destinations has really truly been a blessing. Then to land here in New York, the mecca of basketball, is unbelievable. I never even dreamed of playing here and the fact that this opportunity has come. I am really looking forward to taking on the challenge and like you said I know you get scrutinized here in New York, but I am looking forward to it.”
Were you shocked that the Hawks traded you to the Nets?
“It definitely did. I couldn’t sit here and tell the tale cause I didn’t even see it coming. I heard rumors and then after hearing rumors the next thing I know I am getting a phone call from the GM and he was like, ‘Well we are trying to do this deal and this and that.’ I was a bit excited considering the fact that if Deron Williams was staying, so I was like if he stays then it’ll be a great opportunity for me.”
How closely were you following the Dwight Howard trade talks?
“I have been pretty much following everything, but it is hard because you don’t know what to believe because it’s just rumors, so I have been listening, but I don’t know how much of it is true, so I have just been sitting back patiently.”