Six-time all-star Joe Johnson was acquired by the Brooklyn Nets from the Atlanta Hawks, where he averaged 18.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 35.5 minutes. After explaining how he's getting acquainted with Brooklyn, he said, “This is going to be something fun to watch.”
Williams played for the Nets last season in 55 games and averaged 21 points. 3.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.2 steals in 36.3 minutes. He recently signed a long-term contract with the team, and will make his second appearance on the U.S. Olympic team in London this summer.
“I think we're going to start a rivalry,” he said when asked about the “other” team in town, the New York Knicks.
“It will be a joy for me to coach the best backcourt I've ever coached and I'm excited about all of the different ways that we can utilize their skill set,” head coach Avery Johnson said at a press conference before the pep rally.
Johnson also talked to the press about the team moving to Brooklyn.
“The thing that is exciting for me is that we are the Brooklyn Nets,” he said, adding that he can feel the energy and can tell just by speaking to people how excited they are to have a basketball team in the borough.
Johnson also spoke about the new arena the team will call home.
“Once the Barclays Center opens, it will be by far the best NBA arena,” he said. “We're going to have a home court advantage in Brooklyn.”
“It's a fresh start for us,” said Williams. “We have a nice squad going into the Barclays Center.”
Outside of Borough Hall, fans listed to songs like “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” and “Brooklyn We Go Hard” provided by a DJ standing on top of the Experience Truck, which was selling Nets merchandise.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz called to the Nets move to Brooklyn “a dream realized.”
“Those Manhattan Knicks, you've had your day,” he said. “Madison Square Garden just doesn't have the same sparkle anymore.”
Michael Tucker, a resident of Brooklyn for 47 years, said he was excited for the team to come to the borough.
“I feel great about it,” he said. “It's great for the people in Brooklyn.” When asked if he would be going to any games he simply said, “absolutely.”