New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson says Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is a “threat” to sign Deron Williams in free agency next summer.”He’s a threat, OK? I know the guy,” Johnson told ESPN yesterday.
The Nets are moving to Brooklyn, and hope to reinvigorate the franchise by signing both Williams and Dwight Howard at the end of the season.
But if Williams goes to Dallas, Howard is off the table, and the Nets’ grand plan to form the NBA’s next super-team will be an abysmal failure.
So why is Johnson so afraid of Cuban?
- Williams is from Texas.
- Williams can make more money in Dallas since taxes in Texas are so much lower than NYC.
- Cuban has shown a willingness to pay the luxury tax, which would theoretically allow the Mavs to build the best possible team around Williams.
There has been a ton of chatter about Williams going to Dallas. Grantland’s Bill Simmons has basically said it’s a done deal on numerous podcasts.
But as hapless as the Nets have been in recent years, they actually have more to offer than the Mavericks do.
If he stays in Brooklyn, Williams can play with Dwight Howard for the next decade in the country’s largest media market. In addition, since the team would have two superstars rather than three, it could afford to fill out the team with solid role players.
In Dallas, Williams would be paired with an ageing Dirk Nowitzki. And in three years, he’d be back on a one-man team again.
The Nets are pulling out all the stops to keep Williams. They even have him sit in on meetings discussing trades and free agency in order to make him feel like the most important part of the franchise, according to ESPN’s Ric Bucher.
But Cuban can pay, and the Mavs will have cap room, so Johnson is right to say he’s a big, big threat.
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