- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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"I was really close to going to Dallas," Williams, who signed a five-year, $98 million contract with the Nets, told reporters at Team USA training camp in Las Vegas, according to the New York Daily News.
"I actually thought that's where I was going to go," he said. "I had the meetings and it kind of changed my mind because once I got out of the meeting with Dallas and saw the way they were going and the team they were putting out there, and I saw that we just made a trade for Joe Johnson and I felt like that team for a longer time would be the better team.
"Joe got me over the hump. I've never played with anybody like him, a guy on the wing that can get his own shot and also get me involved and is a great defender. We could have one of the top backcourts in the NBA for sure."
Williams struggled with his decision to pick the Nets over the Mavericks.
"It was a hard decision. It was my hometown, the team that I grew up watching, would have loved to play for and my family, would have loved for them to see me play," Williams said, according to the newspaper. "I kind of felt I let the city I'm from down because they wanted me there so bad. It was a really tough decision, but I think it ultimately came down to where I felt I had a better chance to win for a longer period of time."
The All-Star point guard will be the face of the Nets as they move into the $1 billion Barclays Center. Aside from reaching tentative agreements to re-sign Williams and trade for Johnson, the Nets also brought back Gerald Wallace, agreed with Bosnian stretch forward Mirza Teletovic and acquired Reggie Evans in a sign-and-trade. None of the moves can become official until July 11.
"I'm excited," Williams said. "It's one of the reasons I stayed. The buzz in Brooklyn is big. The arena is going to be amazing. I think it's going to be an exciting time. I think we're going to have a pretty good team this year, so we have a chance to become better. A lot of our guys are a little underrated. Brook Lopez is a little undervalued. Gerald Wallace, people say he's old. He's 30 years old. The same with Joe. It will kind of be like a rejuvenation for all of us."
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
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