- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Mark Cuban says his Mavericks are in a better position without Deron Williams. The Nets agree.
“I don't want to pick on Deron Williams because he's a great, great, great player, and so it's not necessarily him, per se,” Cuban said on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Ben & Skin Show.” “The conversation we had going back and forth -- and obviously the decision was to go for him -- but the conversation was, ‘OK, once you add $17.1 million in salary to what we'd have with Dirk (Nowitzki) and Trix (Shawn Marion), then what do you do?’ That's your squad. And it's not just your squad for this year. It's your squad for next year other than the $3.3 million mini midlevel.
“So that was a challenge that we had because we want to win, and everybody talks about Dirk's window. Well, not only would it have been difficult to add players, then it also would have been difficult to trade players, and in reality that was the same problem that Deron had. Because he looked and saw the same thing and said, ‘OK, now what are you going to do?’”
As we know, the Mavericks were always viewed as the biggest threat for Williams, who grew up in the Dallas area. They heavily pursued the three-time All-Star in the offseason, and he gave serious thought to signing there.
But Williams elected to re-sign with the Nets after they traded for talented shooting guard Joe Johnson because he liked the direction the franchise was headed in; The extra $25 million and year he received on his max contract didn’t hurt, either.
As ESPN Dallas.com’s Jeff Caplan points out in his news story:
Cuban was criticized for not leaving the filming of his TV show ‘Shark Tank’ in Los Angeles to join the team's recruiting party in Manhattan to meet with Williams on July 2. Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, coach Rick Carlisle and consultant Michael Finley met with Williams before Nets officials did soon after that.
Cuban said he's not sure he could have swayed Williams' decision had he been there, but he now acknowledges he's glad it worked out the way it did.
“Maybe, you know, because I always think I can close a sale,” Cuban said. “But in hindsight, I don't know if I would have been happy. I think we're in better position now than we would have been if we had gotten him.”
The Mavericks ended up with Elton Brand, Chris Kaman, Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo. Not a bad supporting cast at all. Still, Cuban wanted D-Will, he admitted as much, and couldn’t close the deal.
Now, he’ll look forward to next summer, when Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum can be free agents. Cuban probably won’t say the same thing if he can’t land one of them.
7dMarc Stein and Mike Mazzeo