Deron Williams: 10 Steps NJ Nets Must Take to Convince Deron to Sign Extension
While the majority of the hoops world is watching the NBA Finals match-up between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat, the powers that be in the front offices of the New Jersey Nets are probably scurrying to come up with plans that would convince Deron Williams to sign an extension with the Brooklyn bound club.
Maybe Billy King and the rest of the Nets’ brass are keeping an eye on LeBron James, who had spurned the Nets, among a few other contending teams, to join Chris Bosh on their way to team up with Dwayne Wade in South Beach.
I will let bygones be bygones and move on to the topic at hand.
10. Initiate Roster Upgrades
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It’s obvious that after going 24-58 in the regular season, the New Jersey Nets still need to add a couple of pieces in order to field a competitive team. Maybe a couple of pieces isn’t enough even after snagging Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz.
If LeBron James’ decision (sic) was any indication, adding a Band-Aids in hopes of healing a major wound won’t be enough for the Nets organization to keep Deron Williams.
If the Cleveland Cavaliers weren’t able to hang on to James by signing/trading for Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison, then how can the Nets hope to retain Williams by acquiring anyone with a lesser basketball pedigree than O’Neal and Jamison?
9. Make a Run at David West
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Coming off a successful surgery to repair a torn ACL (ESPN), I don’t think that West is likely to opt-out of the last year of his deal with the Hornets. Nevertheless, if West indeed decided to opt-out, then the Nets could be looking at a pairing similar to what Deron Williams had with Carlos Boozer during their time with the Utah Jazz.
While West and Boozer have put up similar numbers over the last three seasons, the biggest difference has been that West averaged more points 19.69 PPG to Boozers 17.73 PPG, while Boozer grabbed more rebounds at 10.4 RPG to West’s 7.86 RPG.
A Williams/West pairing won’t be the grind-it-out tandem of Williams/Boozer, but still a formidable force. Plus, if Nets can hold on to Brook Lopez while he recuperates from whatever has caused his rebounding.
8. Mass Advertising Campaign
NBA.COM / NJNets.com
Just as the Nets unveiled a 60-by-80-foot billboard in Times Square in April (Daily News) that featured Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Bridge, the works must not stop there, and Mikhail Prokhorov and Company must continue to push the Nets’ presence in the borough of Brooklyn.
As a resident of Brooklyn, I haven’t seen many attempts to make the move more of a public event outside of the aforementioned billboard. Even that seems only as something to spite the long suffering Knicks fans.
Maybe we will see more of buildup as the impending Nets’ moving date gets ever closer, but for now I can only hope, for Williams’ sake, that Nets get on moving with everything else that has nothing to do with actually physically moving.
7. Snag a Decent Player in the 2011 NBA Draft
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If you’ve listened to the 5/17 episode of Bill Simmons’ podcast The B.S. Report, then you would have heard the breakdown of this year’s draft. You would’ve also learned that despite the shallow pool of bona fide star players, there are still a good number of solid players will be available.
It will be tough for the Nets to find value with the 27th pick, but at this point adding a big man with an upside will only be a plus.
Let’s hope that last years’ failed experimentation with Derrick Favors will be a lesson and that the future brings larger rewards.
On second thought, Favors did have a positive impact in New Jersey as the Nets management was able to package him in a deal to acquire Williams.
6. Consider a Coaching Change
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I’m not one hundred percent sold on Avery Johnson being the kind of a coach that can lead a team to the Promised Land.
Yes, Johnson has led the Dallas Mavericks to the 2006 NBA Finals, but I will give credit to the player personnel that was left over from Don Nelson’s time as the head coach of the Mavericks.
5. Trading Brook Lopez
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I still believe that Brook Lopez is one of the better pivot-men in the NBA.
I am also realistic enough to know that the Nets’ franchise will only go as far as Deron Williams goes, unless the Nets think they can pull another superstar out of their deep pockets.
If the decision needs to be made for the betterment of the organization as a whole that hinges on trading Lopez, then Nets will be no other recourse other than to trade him.
4. Fans Must Fill the Seats
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Having attended a few of the Nets games over the years, I am always surprised at how the team has managed to sustain itself with so few fans (relatively speaking) attending home games.
Can you really blame a player that does not want to play in front of thousands of empty seats?
If the Nets organization hopes to retain Deron Williams’ service, they will surely have to find ways of putting fans in the stands.
If that means lowering ticket prices or giving away tickets free of charge, something must be done in order to raise team spirit.
On a similar note, I get very pissed off every time the Knicks play at New Jersey and I have to hear cheers for the visiting team. I can only hope that this won’t happen once the Nets move to Brooklyn. But if the Los Angeles pairing of Lakers and Clippers is an indication, then all hope is lost.
3. Actively Pursue Dwight Howard
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Nets GM Billy King can’t sit idly while teams court Howard in hopes of him exercising the early termination option that becomes available after the 2011-2012 season.
A surefire way to guarantee that Deron Williams sticks around for the long term is to show faith in the rebuilding process and that Williams himself is the centerpiece of it all.
Nets have to put faith into Williams if he is to repay them in the same way.
2. Prokhorov Has to Become Mark Cuban 2.0
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It’s remarkable to trace the trajectory of the aforementioned Dallas Mavericks once the team was purchased by Mark Cuban. Infusing the organization with young blood, Cuban brought a certain je ne sais quoi to the struggling franchise and the NBA as a whole.
If Mikhail Prokhorov becomes even a half the owner that Cuban is today (he certainly has the money) then he will not only enhance the image of the Nets, but of the NBA as well. Tell me that David Stern wouldn’t like the sound of that.
I’m not saying that Prokhorov can create such an image for himself overnight, but he can try over the course of the next season.
Is there a better way for the Nets to entice Deron Williams to sign an extension if other marquee players want to sign with the Nets?
1. Nets Must Make the Playoffs Next Season
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While the Nets making next year’s playoffs is entirely dependent how they will play out the regular season, the sure sign that things are going well will be if the Nets make the playoffs next season. The only questions then will be just how deep into the playoffs the Nets can go.
It’s possible that Deron Williams might be dealt if the Nets can’t agree on a contract extension, but that is likely to be the last resort of both parties involved. And thus Williams’ decision could depend on his judgment of the playoff worthiness of the Nets squad in the coming years.