Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Deron Williams, wife tour Prokhorov's Russia
By Jeff Caplan
From now until the start of NBA free agency on July 1, there will be enough tea leaves to read regarding Deron Williams' future to build a tea-leaf bridge stretching from Dallas to Brooklyn to Moscow.
That's where the perennial All-Star point guard and his wife Amy are this week (and they tweeted their Ritz-Carlton room view of the Kremlin to prove it) after a brief stop in Turkey, where Williams played for Besiktas prior to the lockout. The couple was accompanied in Turkey by Nets owner/Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and Nets general manager Billy King, the New York Post reported.
While in Istanbul, Williams watched former Jazz teammate and Russian native Andrei Kirilenko -- who has a relationship with Prokhorov -- suffer a devastating last-second defeat playing for CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague title game. Now it appears that Kirilenko and his wife, Masha, are playing host to the Williamses in their home country.
According to Nets Daily, Masha Kirilenko said last week that the two couples would be going to Russia together.
Tea leaves anyone?
"Last I heard he was partying overseas with Nets management, with Prokhorov and them," Mavs center Brendan Haywood said of Williams on Tuesday morning during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Ben & Skin Show. "If he's leaning towards Dallas, he's got a funny way of showing it. So we don't know what D-Will's doing. I think that's the million-dollar question everybody wants to know. I don't even know if he knows right now. He has a very interesting summer ahead of him."
So is Kirilenko on the Nets' radar as part of a plan to keep Williams? King recently denied reports that the team is close to agreeing on a deal for Kirilenko. King's main purpose for being in Turkey was to watch Nets 2011 second-round draft pick Bojan Bogdanovic, who plays in the Turkish League.
The Nets will surely spin the Williams couple's European vacation as a positive sign as Brooklyn desperately attempts to keep the North Texas native. The Mavs will be desperate to woo Williams back home -- he grew up in the Dallas suburb The Colony -- to pair with Dirk Nowitzki after owner Mark Cuban dismantled the title team to create cap space to make a run at a prized free agent such as Williams.
We'll see where the tea leaves -- and Williams and his wife -- land next.