- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard Friday that Deron Williams will likely leave the Nets if they don’t get Dwight Howard. Possible destinations for D-Will include the Lakers, Knicks or Mavericks, Broussard reports.
Five quick thoughts:
1. Before the season started, D-Will said he was 90 percent sure he’d stay with the Nets ... assuming they put the right pieces around him. D-12’s reps have said that his first choice is to join D-Will in New Jersey/Brooklyn. In my book, that has to be reason for optimism. Remember, Melo never expressed interest in playing with the Nets last season, and he ended up a Knick.
2. I can’t see the Nets trading D-Will to the Knicks, their hated rivals. Would they really want to trade for Amare’s surgically-repaired knees or Melo, who, despite “being from Brooklyn,” clearly wanted no part of their rebuilding project and can’t do much else but score? The Nuggets are 28-12 since trading Melo. The Knicks are 20-22 since dealing for him. That has to say something right? Also, don’t forget what D-Will said about playing for the Knicks when asked about the possibility in the offseason: “That would be very unlikely.”
3. While it is possible that there could be a “Big Three in Big D,” it seems improbable. The Mavs would basically have to gut their entire team minus Dirk to make it happen. Surely D-Will would have to consider going home, and the idea of that trio playing together is a scary one, but seriously? Now, if D-12 and D-Will became free agents, the Nets would be able to surround them with rookie stud MarShon Brooks, a 2012 lottery pick and possibly Brook Lopez. And then there’s that whole New York market and the $1 billion Barclays Center too. In that scenario, the Nets have to like their chances.
4. Reports are that the only way the Nets’ hand would be forced is if D-12 is traded to the Lakers. If that does happen, what can you do? The Nets can offer more money --a year and around $30 million to be more precise -- but D-Will wants a championship. The Nets will have a lot of cap space, but ultimately, he and D-12 are the main prizes. Otherwise, the Nets are settling for lesser talent, and D-Will won't stand for settling.
5. What if Lopez returns and doesn’t miss a beat? The Nets could then build a package around him and a combination of Brooks and the lottery pick. Not sure if they could convince Orlando ownership to make the move -- they may have to recruit more teams, GM Billy King is adept at that -- and D-12 would likely have to deal with not making the playoffs. Seems unlikely. But when it comes to the NBA, you never know.