Sorry, Nets fans. It's about to get ugly.
Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets has a wish list of his own, according to ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard. According to Broussard, Williams wants to be a Net, but it is unlikely that he stays if Magic center Dwight Howard signs with anyone other than New Jersey. If the Nets cannot acquire Howard, Williams would like to sign with either the Mavericks, Knicks or Lakers.
The Nets are not listening to any trade offers for Williams until it becomes official that they have no chance at Howard.
Broussard is making this report official, but I could have told you this is going to happen from the time the Nets acquired Williams from the Utah Jazz last season. It has never looked as if the Nets have locked him down for the long haul.
Currently, the Nets are nowhere near being a championship-caliber, let alone playoff-caliber, team. Their best player is counting on them to bring in a guy in Howard who seems to change what his mind daily. They are competing against quality franchises in Dallas and the L.A. Lakers for his services.
The New Jersey Nets are running a fool's errand if they believe that they are the obvious No. 1 choice for the best center in the game. The Lakers have Kobe Bryant and the Mavericks have Dirk Nowitzki. These two have proven that they can get it done in the playoffs and get rings. If Howard's real concern is about getting himself to the best possible organization to win a title, the Nets are already at a disadvantage.
The Nets are like the Cleveland Cavaliers were with LeBron James. They have put all of their eggs in one basket and do not seem to have any backup plan if they can't get their guy. The Cavs were in an even better position than the Nets are now because at least they had LeBron and most people at the time were convinced he would stay the hometown hero. Look what happened to the Cavs last season. I guess the Nets could look forward to a potential first-round pick in 2013.
I can't fault New Jersey for trying. A team of led by Howard and Williams would be interesting to be sure. Howard has made the Magic a perennial playoff team by being far and away their best player. Williams would almost in arguably be the most talented guy he has ever played with. It would also make the team marketable when you move to Brooklyn next season.
None of that matters if the Nets lose Howard to another team. If he goes somewhere else, so does Williams. At that point the Nets can consider themselves done for a couple seasons. They aren't winning games, and it will be real hard to get people to come see them.
Simply put, if the Nets can not land Howard, the last season and a half will be a waste of the time. I feel as if they have a slim chance of even keeping Williams. If that is the case, God help them.