December 28, 2011
The New Jersey Nets are in a tight spot this season. After trading for star point guard and free-agent-to-be Deron Williams at last year's deadline, they now have this season to convince him that he should join them in their move to Brooklyn. Unfortunately for them, Brook Lopez, their second-best player and best trade asset, sustained a stress fracture in his foot last week and figures to miss a good deal of team. It's going to be tough for them to make a big move like acquiring Dwight Howard, and that means Williams might be on his way out this summer.
For now, though, he's a Net and wants to make the most of his experience. So, after only two games, he's asking for help. From Benjamin Hoffman for The New York Times' Off the Dribble blog (via PBT):
"We need some more pieces," he said. "There's no secret about that. There's not many starters on our team right now. We have a lot of great role players, a lot of guys who know their job, but in this league you need some top-tier guys so you can get the job done." [...]
"I love it," Williams said of living in SoHo. "It's been a great experience for me and my family. We're definitely enjoying the city life."
Williams discussed the team's move to Brooklyn, saying that he has not spent a lot of time in the borough but that he has enjoyed his trips across the East River.
Having recently participated in a charity event in Brooklyn, Williams said, "We're trying to really plant our feet in Brooklyn and get things started for our transition over there."
A cynic would claim that Williams is setting the stage for a departure -- perhaps to his home state of Texas and the Mavericks -- in July, but his statements about New York life and the inroads the team's making in Brooklyn seem sincere. The Nets remain an option.
But it's also easy to see how they'll recede into the background if the bad times continue. Williams is at a point in his career when he wants to win, and if the Nets don't prove they're heading in that direction a team like the Mavericks probably stands as a safer bet. He might like living in New York, but he also took to his experience in Turkey during the lockout. Chances are that Deron can enjoy himself no matter where he ends up.
There are positives to be taken from his comments if you're a Nets fan, but not many. There's no bad blood. It's just that everything he does now feels like a step closer to looking elsewhere in free agency.