Will Mavs land Deron Williams?
Mavs will reel in D-Will
Forget the finances. Deron Williams' decision should come down to the front offices.
Yeah, Williams can get a bigger contract by re-upping with the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets. Five years, $109 million looks a heck of a lot bigger than the $81 million over four years the Dallas Mavericks can offer after some salary-cap housecleaning.
Until you do the math.
New York's government would take 8.97 percent of his salary, while Williams' home state of Texas has no income tax. The extra year on the contract would only matter if Williams didn't believe that he'd sign another max deal at the age of 32.
Anyway, if it was all about the money, Williams would exercise his option for a $17.8 million salary next season and sign a max deal for a little bit more the following season.
The All-Star point guard will make more than he can ever spend, no matter what. Williams wants to win.
That's why his decision should be based purely on the franchise's potential to put a championship-caliber supporting cast around him. Which decision-making duo does he trust more: Mark Cuban/Donnie Nelson or Mikhail Prokhorov/Billy King?
One owner has been a driving force in the NBA's statistical analytics movement and lives and breathes basketball. The other flies over from Russia for a game or two per season and could probably name the Nets' starting five, as long as he was given initials as hints.
One GM has a championship ring and a streak of 12 consecutive playoff appearances. The other GM's teams have made the playoffs about half the time under his watch.
Both teams would have the flexibility to be front-runners for Dwight Howard's services in the summer of 2013.
The Mavs have a future Hall of Famer and the most recent Finals MVP in place to be the third wheel, and Dirk Nowitzki has left no doubt that he'd embrace such a role if he could play with two stars in their prime. The Nets have no idea who would headline a supporting cast for the Williams/Howard duo.
Williams can hope the Nets stop the bumbling ways with the move to Brooklyn. Or he can come home to a franchise that has proven the ability to sustain a contender for the long haul.
The dollars won't make a difference. Williams will land in Dallas because he wants to win.
Don't count on Deron
I am, however, here to share an apparently uncommon opinion that the perennial All-Star point guard will stay with the Nets and usher in an exciting and very cool new era in Brooklyn. First, let me bore you with the numbers: The Nets can hand Williams five years and $109 million, one more year and $28 million more than the Mavs or any other team can offer under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement.
I asked a prominent Mavs veteran if players view $109 million and $81 million equally because, you know, once the Benjamins are stacked that tall, isn't it all just gravy? I got laughed at.
Jason Kidd (for the record, he was not the prominent Mavs vet) is friends with the 27-year-old Williams, even a mentor. They share the same agent, and remember that Kidd led the afterthought New Jersey Nets to consecutive Finals appearances a decade ago. Kidd, for one, sounds pretty pumped about Brooklyn.
"Going to Brooklyn brings a lot of attention," Kidd said. "The last professional team there was the Dodgers, so I think they're going to be very excited. And then with the Russian owner, I mean, he's not short on money so I think they're going to go out and make a splash."
Imagine the lure of glory awaiting the man who revives Nets hoops just off Broadway. Williams can be the Chris Paul of Brooklyn (only no crazy Donald Sterling to deal with as the league's most unrespected owner).
Sure, it was a horrible swan song in Jersey and at times Williams acted more like he was being held captive by the franchise than a handsomely paid employee. But again, it's time to start re-thinking the Nets as they move into the $1 billion Barclays Center in the borough. No longer will Williams make a commute from his Manhattan abode to, ugh, Newark.
Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov has unlimited resources and is committed. There are some interesting pieces on the roster, starting with center Brook Lopez when healthy, and the Nets have loads of cap space to build a competitive roster over the next two summers.
And let's not act like a deal for Dwight Howard is dead. It simply is not.
If Williams is strongly considering the Mavs, he is putting his faith in the track record of Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson to field competitive teams and the pull of playing at home. What more is there to offer at the moment outside of a 34-year-old Dirk Nowitzki with two years left and cap space?
It's going to be interesting for sure, but don't be surprised when the North Texas kid decides to keep his Manhattan pad and ride the subway to work.