When the Utah Jazz dealt point guard Deron Williams to the shaky New Jersey Nets, reaction was mixed.Sure, the Nets had swooped in and, with zero warning, added an All-Star floor general to their team. At the same time, Williams is up for free agency in 2012, and some pejoratively refered to the trade as “a rental”.
The Nets have a year and a half, more or less, to turn themselves into a team that Williams thinks he can win with.
That’s why it may have come off as slightly strange when head coach Avery Johnson told the media, not once but twice, that a Williams extension—which could, in theory, be worked out this July—was a slam dunk. From the Bergen Record:
The past two days, Johnson said he had “no doubt” the Nets would be able to re-sign Deron Williams and had fun with those two words Wednesday. Yet when Johnson was asked jokingly Thursday if there was anything he had no doubt about, he turned serious.
But then, Johnson changed his tune, perhaps recognising that having fun with the subject could come back to haunt him.
“I will not comment on that the rest of the year,” Johnson said. “I’m on record saying what I’ve said. Deron’s on record and [general manager] Billy [King’s] on record. Right now, there’s nothing to even talk about anymore, because we don’t have to address it right now. We’ll address it when the time comes.”
Regardless of whether or not Williams has any interest in staying with New Jersey, the possibility of a lockout throws a monkey wrench into any team’s plans. It also might limit Williams’s future options, which might push him, however unwillingly, back toward New Jersey—which by then, should be Brooklyn.
Realistically, though, the Nets may also find themselves facing a tough decision a year from now. Do they cut their losses and trade Williams for the most they can get, or go into his free agency making one final push? That’s really the scenario at the end of the tunnel, but no one feels like discussing that one, either.
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