Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams, in Las Vegas for the start of Team USA training camp in preparation for the Olympics, told reporters that the Nets' trade for Joe Johnson kept him from heading home to play for the Dallas Mavericks.
"I was really close to going to Dallas," Williams told reporters. "I actually thought that's where I was going to go. I had the meetings and it kind of changed my mind because once I got out of the meeting with Dallas and saw the way they were going and the team they were putting out there and I saw that we just made a trade for Joe Johnson and I felt like that team for a longer time would be the better team.
"Joe got me over the hump," Williams continued. "I've never played with anybody like him, a guy on the wing that can get his own shot and also get me involved and is a great defender. We could be one of the top backcourts in the NBA for sure."
Knowing how close Williams was to joining his hometown team won't make Mavs fans feel any better as they've watched the roster diminish to just seven players under contract. Jason Terry agreed to a deal with the Boston Celtics and Jason Kidd has agreed to join the New York Knicks.
"It was a hard decision. It was my hometown, the team that I grew up watching, would have loved to play for and my family would have loved for them to see me play," Williams said. "I kind of felt I let the city I'm from down because they wanted me there so bad. It was a really tough decision, but I think it ultimately came down to where I felt I had a better chance to win for a longer period of time."