D-Will on Dallas, Cuban: Don't go there
February, 28, 2013
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Deron Williams wanted no part of rehashing the offseason, when he chose to stay in Brooklyn over heading back home to Dallas.
"There's no reason to even go down that lane. That's behind me. I'm part of the Brooklyn Nets," Williams said Thursday. "There's no reason to even revisit that."
Williams will face the Mavericks for the first time this season when the Nets host Dallas on Friday night at Barclays Center.
"It's just another game," Williams said.
Williams, 28, met with both teams during free agency. Given that he is from Dallas, it was a difficult decision. Ultimately, he decided to re-sign with the Nets for five years and $98 million.
Glenn James/NBAE/Getty ImagesDirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams as teammates? It would've been intriguing, but it didn't happen.
Williams said the team's acquisition of Joe Johnson swayed him to pick Brooklyn. When Williams met with the Mavericks, owner Mark Cuban wasn't at the meeting because he was filming an episode of the reality television show "Shark Tank."
"A lot of the questions that me and my agent had for them really didn't get answered that day -- you know, pertaining to the future," Williams said in October. "And I think if (Cuban) was there, he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit better. Maybe would have helped me."
Cuban then fired back: "I'm a big D-Will fan, but I'm kind of surprised that he would throw his front office under the bus like that by saying that I would make a difference. I would have expected him to say -- like I'd expect one of our guys to say -- 'Hey I'm so thrilled with the front office and the moves we made and our team that it wouldn't have mattered what he did.'
"He's a superstar point guard, but my goal is to build a team. ... I'm flattered that he thought my presence would have made more of a difference than what the Nets' management did."
Williams said he hasn't spoken with Cuban since.
"It wasn't really a back-and-forth thing, anyway," Williams said Thursday.
Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, who joined the Nets in December 2011 as an assistant coach, said he was worried about the possibility that the franchise point guard might leave.
"Until he re-signed, I was concerned," Carlesimo said. "Clearly, being from Dallas and Dallas having a pretty good roster -- they just won a championship a couple years ago -- I thought it was a viable option. My opinion was he was always going to stay just because he seemed very, very comfortable here. And his relationship with Avery Johnson and Billy King was such that I was confident he was going to stay here. But was I worried? Yes, I was worried."
As has been well-documented, this season hasn't been easy for Williams, who has battled injuries, fatigue, confidence problems and becoming acclimated with an offensive system that isn't best-suited for his game. In 55 games, he's averaging 17.3 points, 7.7 assists and 2.9 turnovers and shooting 41.7 percent from the field.
An All-Star from 2010 to '12, Williams wasn't selected to participate this season.
"I know I belong out there regardless of watching (the All-Star Game on TV) or not," Williams said. "It's just the fact that this year I wasn't having an All-Star year, so I wasn't in the game. I'll look to get back there next year, play better, hopefully be healthy."
Since the All-Star break, Williams -- who has already had three sets of cortisone shots in both ankles -- is averaging 22.8 points, 8.4 assists and 3.6 turnovers while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 51.5 percent from 3-point range. He says he'd like to cut down on his turnovers, but otherwise feels good about his game.
The Mavericks currently find themselves five games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Nets, meanwhile, are on track to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.
Looks like D-Will made the right choice -- if this season is any indication, anyway.