Dirk Nowitzki, Mavs pin hopes on Deron Williams

June, 30, 2012
6/30/12
11:49
PM CT

FRISCO, Texas -- Deron Williams is on the clock.

[+] EnlargeHeroes Baseball, Dirk Nowitzki
ESPNDallas.comDirk Nowitzki, here greeting a participant at his Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game, says he's prepared for whaterver Deron Williams decides.
The Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks will meet Monday in New York with the three-time All-Star point guard who played his high school basketball 26 miles away from the American Airlines Center.

"It seemed like last December when we made the decision to let J.J. (Barea) and everybody go and Tyson (Chandler) that we’re putting basically all eggs in one basket, and we’ll see what happens here in the next couple days," Mavs face-of-the franchise Dirk Nowitzki said Saturday prior to his Heroes Charity baseball game. " I think it’s an exciting time for this organization, the fans, just being anxious and see what’s going to happen."

No one but Williams knows for sure, and who knows if he even knows at this moment?

What we do know is that Williams' decision will alter the fortunes of two franchises for years to come. The Nets are moving into a new arena in Brooklyn, a move that has been talked about since Jason Kidd led the New Jersey Nets to back-to-back Finals appearances. And now, Kidd, too, could be headed to Brooklyn as Williams' backup.

The Mavs are one year removed from winning it all and then dismantling a chunk of the title team to create the financial wherewithal needed to be prepared for this very moment.

"He’s got a big decision to make," Nowitzki said. "It’s been a decision that’s been brewing. Obviously it’s not like he found out he was a free agent yesterday, he’s been sitting on this for quite a while and I’m sure he has something already up in his mind. But I guess nobody knows but himself."

Nowitzki, who two summers ago took a hometown discount, saving Dallas $16 million over four years to help sign a top free agent, said he has recently communicated with Williams through text messages. But Nowitzki said he doesn't believe wooing Williams at this point will sway him one way or the other.

Heading into free agency, the Mavs have seven players under contract: Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Brendan Haywood, Shawn Marion, Brandan Wright, Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones, plus the three rookies they selected during Thursday's draft.

Haywood and Marion are amnesty and/or trade candidates to create necessary cap space, especially if Williams agrees to join the Mavs.

That's an answer we probably won't know until Monday evening at the earliest. His decision will also probably hold up other moves. Jason Terry -- who has spent the last eight seasons in Dallas -- is a free agent. So are Kidd, Delonte West, Ian Mahinmi, Brian Cardinal and Yi Jianlian.

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Nowitzki said he'd love to have Williams sign on, but that he won't be devastated if the Mavs have to turn in a different direction.

"If you basically put it in your head saying he’s coming, he’s coming, then you set yourself up for being disappointed," Nowitzki said. "You put it in your head that, hey, it’s a 50/50 decision and we’ll see what decision he makes. Whatever happens, like I said, Donnie and Mark always are looking to make stuff happen and making this organization as competitive as they can. Hey, whatever happens here in the next couple of days, it should be exciting."

That could be the understatement of the year.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9