Deron Williams will leave the New Jersey Nets in the offseason and sign with the Dallas Mavericks. Then, he’ll lead them to the tip top of the Western Conference along with Dirk Nowitzki.
While it seems like a bad move, especially considering the size of the markets involved, it is actually a very good move for Williams that will make him one of the best players in the NBA.
Whether it’s the bright lights of Mark Cuban and company, the beckoning of a familiar place called home or the ability to win big, Dallas has too many advantages over New Jersey/Brooklyn to not get Williams to jump ship and swim to the clearer waters of Dallas.
There was a time when anything associated with the word Cuban held negative connotations of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear assault. These days, it holds the connotation of bukoos of money and a championship trophy.
Mark Cuban is a billionaire, and he will do what it takes to be on top, both in business and in basketball. The highest profile owner in professional sports just won his first NBA title for his franchise and, considering his moves in the offseason, is clearly not satisfied with a single trophy for his case.
Cuban has made multiple moves to ensure that the Mavericks will be able to be major players in free agency following this season. Letting lynchpins of your franchise’s lone championship run like J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler go in free agency is a gutsy move, especially when Cuban has no guarantee that he’ll get any big-name players to sign.
However, those are the kinds of guts and risk-taking that have made Cuban the man he is: filthy rich enough that he gets to have running a pro basketball franchise as a hobby.
He’s becoming an icon. A big enough icon that he has the potential to outshine the bigger markets in the eyes of free agents like Williams. Do you really think that Nike, Adidas and the like aren’t going to sign endorsement deals with Cuban and his players just because they play out of Dallas? Maybe a decade that would have been true, but now Cuban has broken that mold.
That’s why Williams will come to Dallas, even though it is a smaller market.
Home is Where the Heart Is
Williams is from the Dallas area. Many will tell you that that means nothing, and that the money and market rule decisions in free agency. Don’t buy it.
It makes a difference when you can go over and visit your family any time you want without having to board a plane for a few hours. Williams’ wife’s family is still in that area, and wives might be the single most underrated part of the decision-making process for pro athletes.
Williams knows the Dallas area. He lived his life there up until the time he left to play college ball at Illinois. Knowing the area is also important, especially when you have a family raise.
This man is familiar with the good and bad neighborhoods, the good and bad schools for his children and where all the cool places to go are. Granted, those things could be learned in new places, but never as easily as coming back home.
Home always has a special place in our hearts. Williams is no different.
The biggest factor is winning, or at least it should be. Had Dwight Howard been willing to opt out and head for New Jersey, the Nets might be the best place for Williams to win big. However, Howard is staying in Orlando, and it is clear that, even with the addition of Gerald Wallace, Williams doesn’t have enough in New Jersey to win at the level his talent deserves.
By going to Dallas, Williams is inserting himself into a winning environment that has won 50 games every season of the past decade and is fresh off an NBA championship.
Dirk Nowitzki is a superstar, no questions about it. Williams has never had a teammate of that caliber and probably never will if he doesn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
Williams could win with Dirk and then, after Nowitzki is finished, he’d have his own team to win with in his hometown. It would still be talented too, because Cuban would make sure of it.
D-Will is a great scorer, distributor and defender. He’s one of the best all-around point guards in the game and would make Dallas one of the top Western teams, an equal of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Maybe even a superior.
Williams will come to Dallas and will win big. It is his home, it has a great, high profile owner and it is the best place for him to win at a high level.
Sorry New Jersey, but your NBA futility will not be ending any time soon.