Orlando Magic point guard Jason Williams hasn't played since December 18th, missing the club's last 16 games with a combination of arthritis in both feet and, more recently, what the team is calling "personal reasons."
But Brian Schmitz reports Williams has taken some time away from the Magic because he's dissatisfied with his role. Orlando's trade of Rashard Lewis for Gilbert Arenas has made Williams the team's fourth point guard, behind Jameer Nelson, Arenas, and free-agent signee Chris Duhon. Schmitz relays the details of a conversation he had with Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide during last night's Magic win against the Philadelphia 76ers.
I asked Vander Weide at halftime as he hurried to his seat whether Williams would be back this season, and he said, "It's in discussion."
It was a curious answer if indeed Williams has had pressing personal reasons.
Vander Weide said that Williams could be promoted from fourth point guard to No. 3 "if we make a move" involving Duhon, who isn't playing either, but has more marketability than the 35-year-old J-Will.
One can certainly understand Williams' frustration. Backing up Nelson last season, his first in Orlando after a one-year retirement, he appeared in all 82 of the Magic's games, and played reasonably well until the second half of the season. Now, he simply can't get off the bench. An injury in training camp robbed him of the chance to compete with Duhon for the backup job, and given Duhon's lackluster play so far this year, it's not farfetched to presume a healthy Williams would have earned the backup role.
Williams, now in his 12th season, re-signed with Orlando on a one-year contract in August. Schmitz says Orlando might try dealing Duhon to a team who loses a point guard due to injury, which may appease Williams. But until or unless that happens, it seems unlikely that we'll see Williams on the court, or even with the team.