- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- GM Billy King never wavered in his belief that superstar Deron Williams would re-sign with the Nets.
"I think all along he wanted to be here. I just had to give him a reason to stay," King said Tuesday.
After agreeing to a five-year, $98 million max deal, D-Will said the key was King’s acquisition of Joe Johnson from the Hawks.
"Joe got me over the hump," Williams said. "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 have one of the top backcourts in the NBA for sure."
On July 2, the day the Nets met with Williams, who was still deciding on whether to stay or go to Dallas, King informed him that the Nets had a blockbuster trade in place to land Johnson.
"We had pretty much agreed to the Joe Johnson deal, but kept it from you guys because when had our meeting, I wanted to present it to (Williams) first," King said. "He said, 'I hadn't heard that.' I said, 'We wanted you to know first.'"
King said the Nets internally knew where they stood with their free agents and the players they decided to add to the roster, "but when it's all said and done, probably the best feeling was when you get the call from Deron and he says, 'I’m staying,' because that was really the signature of the organization."
Everything fell into place after that.
King reiterated his belief that Williams is the best point guard in the NBA, and added that there's going to be less pressure on him to score -- not that he can't -- because he'll have so many offensive weapons surrounding him.
King said Williams can now play more of a "Jason Kidd, Magic Johnson" role, as far as being a distributor first and a scorer second, "but he may still get 40 (points in a night)," the GM noted.
King credited Williams with spearheading the team’s pre-training camp workouts at the PNY Center and getting most of his teammates to attend.
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