Hawks forward Marvin Williams always assumed the paparazzi were only for Hollywood types. That is until the NBA version found its way to his doorstep this summer. There were at least two premature reports about Williams, a restricted free agent, agreeing to and signing a new deal with the Hawks .
"It was crazy to look on the Internet and see stuff about me signing with the Hawks or that I was staying with the Hawks ," Williams said Thursday. "Yet there was never anyone quoted. It was always some anonymous person saying it was done or saying it was going to happen.
"The truth of the matter is, I still haven't signed yet."
That's a technicality Williams expects to take care of this afternoon now that he has agreed to a five-year, $37.5 million contract with the Hawks , a deal that with incentives could be worth as much as $43 million. The official announcement from the team is expected early next week.
There are no plans for a re-introduction ceremony such as the one teammates and fellow free agents Mike Bibby and Zaza Pachulia attended last month after they signed their new contracts. But Williams said he couldn't be happier to be free of the free-agent frenzy.
"I knew from past years with Josh [Smith] and Josh [Childress] that this process could take some time," Williams said. "But I was patient. I tried to be patient. And thankfully, things worked out."
Williams said the sides were never as far apart as reported and that talks actually "got better" as the summer went on. As a restricted free agent, Williams could have accepted the Hawks' qualifying offer of $7.5 million and become an unrestricted free agent in July 2010.
Williams, selected with the second overall pick in the 2005 draft, said he couldn't envision playing somewhere else, not with seven of the top eight players returning from a team that won 47 games, finished fourth in the Eastern Conference and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
Williams averaged 13.9 points and 6.3 rebounds, but he missed the last month-and-a-half of the regular season with a back injury before returning for the playoffs.
"We've all grown together," Williams said. "The one thing you hardly ever see in professional sports is that loyalty, and teams staying together. When you do see it, like in San Antonio or Detroit when they kept their core guys together, you see championships.
"I think that's everybody's goal here. We've all started off together young in this league, and if we get a chance to grow old together, I think we can do some pretty special things."