The Nets made Williams happy and will be able to keep him beyond this season. We’re talking about Shawne Williams, not Deron.
Shawne was given a two-year deal by the Nets, which was a good signing. He can play both forward spots and no matter if Brook Lopez is in the middle or Dwight Howard, Shawne Williams is going to get plenty of open looks in the corner. Deron Williams will make Shawne Williams a better player.
Deron Williams will make all of the Williamses on the Nets better. There are four now, but with all due respect to Shawne, Jordan and Sheldon, only one really matters.
The preseason opens Saturday against the Knicks, the regular season next week, and nothing has changed for the Nets. The roster looks a little different, but they still haven’t assembled one that will make Deron Williams re-sign with them in the summer.
The Nets have several things going for them though: time, Williams, Howard hasn’t been traded yet and they’ve maintained their cap flexibility for next summer.
Realistically, they have until July to make Williams happy.
Don’t believe the reports that the Magic are through discussing any trades involving Howard. Maybe they are right now, but Howard will be moved before the trade deadline. The Magic can’t let their franchise player leave without getting something in return to get the organization back on track.
This sounds a little like the Carmelo Anthony saga last season, where the talks were on, then off. Mikhail Prokhorov said the Nets were out, but then they were back in it. The Magic are going to do what’s best for them just as Denver did last year and as the Nets tried to in the Anthony situation.
There is one difference here though: The Nets are in a position of strength.
We’re not saying they absolutely will end up with Howard, because the Lakers could put together a package that includes Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. But unlike last year, when Anthony didn’t want to play for the Nets, all reports say that Howard wants to team up with Deron Williams and play for the franchise that will call Brooklyn home beginning next year.
But it will be up to Orlando to make a deal that makes the most sense for them, gets them the young players, picks or veterans who can help them stay competitive. The Magic are not going to get equal value for Howard, but they have to get something, so Nets general manager Billy King will be in pursuit all season.
And one thing you learned about King last year during the 'Melo chase is he will reach out to everybody to try and find the players, contracts or picks the other team wants.
All of that said, as of this writing, the Nets could – could - open the regular season without making a major acquisition. There still is time, though.
They didn’t get Tyson Chandler, Nene, Caron Butler, Tayshaun Prince, Shane Battier and some of the other names on their free-agent wish list. But Andrei Kirilenko and Kris Humphries are out there still, and the Nets continue to talk to their representatives.
The bottom line, though, is the biggest name available – and he is available – is Howard, and the Nets are going to be prudent while that big fish is out there.
The Nets didn't want to handcuff themselves and give Nene a max deal. He ultimately signed for five years and $67 million with Denver. The Nets were interested, but my hunch is their reported offer of four years, $64 million wasn’t entirely accurate.
In any event, they waived Travis Outlaw through amnesty, signed Shawne and Sheldon Williams and Ime Udoka and have a rookie shooting guard they think can be good in MarShon Brooks.
“I don’t look at the roster and say, ‘Well, geez, they can’t win with that team,’” King said. “We’re going to add some more pieces. It may not be before opening day; it may be done via trade later, but we’ll continue to build.”
The Nets still have a healthy Brook Lopez – remember last offseason he had bout with mono and didn’t get to work out as much. The Nets probably will showcase him because they have to, but also to get his scoring numbers up to increase his trade value.
The biggest thing the Nets have is the most important Williams on the roster. Deron is here from the start of camp, and he is the reason Howard is considering the Nets.
They’re a better team than they were when the season started last year. If the Nets can get Howard, they could become the best team the franchise has had in their NBA history.
They still have time.
Joined Chris Shearn and Joe Auriemma for the Off the Wall Podcast where we talked Nets, Knicks and general NBA. Click here for a listen
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Al Iannazzone covers the NBA for The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)