Friday, June 29, 2012
Dirk Nowitzki: No idea about D-Will
By Jeff Caplan
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, between batting practice sessions in preparation for his Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game on Saturday night, said he's just like the rest of us when it comes to Deron Williams' impeding free-agent decision.
He has no idea which way the All-Star point guard is leaning.
"I still think it's 50-50," Nowitzki said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Ben and Skin Show."
"I just don't know."
NBA free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. ET Sunday, just hours after Nowitzki's charity ballgame, which will feature several Mavs who are headed to free agency, including Jason Terry and Delonte West.
But, it's Williams' future that has created intensified anxiety as the clock ticks down for the Brooklyn and Dallas-area fan bases. Williams' decision will greatly dictate the prospects for success for both franchises.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported earlier this week that Williams has ruled out all other options and will choose to play for the Nets or his hometown Mavericks.
The Brooklyn-bound Nets have maintained confidence that they will re-sign Williams. The Nets can offer a five-year deal worth close to $100 million, while the Mavs can offer four years and about $75 million.
After a Wednesday round of golf at New York's East Hampton Golf Club with friend and soon-to-be free agent Jason Kidd, both players took to Twitter to poke a little fun at the swirling speculation as to Williams' destination. Still, there is yet to be any definitive evidence to suggest which way the Dallas-area native is leaning.
"Both organizations are great and have great owners that have money and the resources to really build something," Nowitzki said. "(Mavs owner Mark) Cuban has shown it here, so, yeah, it's tough. I don't really think we need to recruit him or anything. He knows what he's got here: There's a great owner, great organization, great fans. It's just a matter of does he want to come home and be close to home, or does he rather want to make the move to New York and get probably more endorsement deals and stuff like that? I think if that's on his mind, it's definitely better in New York."
Complicating the issue for the Mavs is that if Williams chooses to stay with the Nets, they could also lose Kidd, who has publicly talked about backing up Williams -- either in Dallas or Brooklyn.
If Williams chooses to play in his hometown, the Mavs will likely re-sign Kidd, who turns 40 next season, and could instantly vault back into Western Conference contention after being swept out of the first round by the eventual West champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"If he comes, we can be right back in the mix. We obviously know that the top in the West is very, very good, very athletic and young, just a bunch of playmakers on the team," Nowitzki said, clearly referencing the Thunder. "We definitely need him if we want to make the next step."