Monday, July 2, 2012
Big week, bigger day
By Mike Mazzeo
If this is the biggest week in Nets’ history, today is the biggest day.
The Nets will meet with unrestricted free agent Deron Williams on Monday night, sources told ESPN.com; Williams will meet with the Mavericks during the day.
The Nets are headed to Brooklyn and the $1 billion Barclays Center next season, but right now, all that matters to them is making sure they keep Williams. They are expected to sell the All-Star point guard on the idea that he’d be the face of the franchise and that they’re committed to winning.
That much has become apparent, considering they’re seemingly interested in every player in the NBA.
Williams has said he’d like to stay with the Nets -- assuming they put the right pieces around him.
And right now, Joe Johnson appears to be their main target.
While Dwight Howard remains a possibility -- he told Yahoo! Sports there’s only one team on his list, and sources say it’s the Nets -- the Nets appear intent on moving in a different direction to improve their roster. Johnson is 31 and owed $90 million over the next four years, but the Nets have engaged the Hawks in talks about acquiring him.
A Williams-Johnson backcourt, combined with Gerald Wallace (four years, $40 million) and eventually re-signed restricted free agent center Brook Lopez would give the Nets a formidable lineup in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets are also expected to meet with Steve Nash on Monday afternoon. Nash could be D-Will’s backcourt mate or replacement, should he bolt for Dallas. The Nets have also expressed interest in Jeremy Lin as part of a possibly contingency plan.
The Nets are dominating headlines right now, but Williams controls their fate.