So much for staying home

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:10 AM ET

Eric Williams wishes he could remain in the swamp. The 32-year-old native of Newark, N.J., who signed a three-year deal with his hometown New Jersey Nets this summer, wasn't jumping for joy when he found out he had been shipped to the Raptors in the Vince Carter deal on Friday.

"I'm the one guy who loves New Jersey -- I had waited my whole career for this," the 6-foot-8 forward told the Newark Star-Ledger yesterday. "It was the same time last year, going from Boston to Cleveland. And now I'm leaving the country. I really thought I had stability, you know? At least for three years, anyway. But that's the business, I guess. I'm not bigger than the game."

Williams, who will now be separated from his nine-year-old son, is the key player in the deal for the Raptors, who also receive centre Alonzo Mourning, forward Aaron Williams and two first-round picks.

Eric Williams was second on the Nets with 12.6 points per game this season, above his career average of 9.3. Eric and Aaron Williams, who aren't afraid to pound the glass, should help the rebound-challenged Raptors.

"They play hard, they play smart, they play tough and they're defensive-minded," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "But these guys also can score. You look at Aaron Williams and he's not playing much this year (averaging 1.9 points per game), but he was a key part of that team that played in two NBA finals (in 2002 and '03). Eric Williams has got a reputation of being a professional and a hard worker and that's what we've got to have. We've got to change the mentality of our guys."

Fans expecting the Williams to fill Carter's role, however, will be disappointed.

"I've played against them for a lot of years and they are going to contribute," Raptors guard Jalen Rose said. "That's the most important thing ... (But) they are probably not going to give you the numbers or the spectacular play of Vince Carter. That comparison is always going to be there."


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