Some break news of their decision with an hour-long TV special. Others leave it up to the reporters. Deron Williams does it himself, sending out a Tweet to the masses. As Stephen A. Smith always said, “Deron Williams is his own man.”
And that man chose to spend the next five years with the Brooklyn Nets.
Justin, Sandy, Dennis and I all shared some thoughts on the biggest free agent acquisition for our Brooklyn Nets, and what it means for the future of the franchise. Check it out.
1. On February 23, 2011, the New Jersey Nets traded Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and two first-round picks to the Utah Jazz for Deron Williams. Now that D-Will has signed on for five more years, what grade do you give this trade?
- Justin DeFeo: A+. Deron Williams is a superstar player, one of the top 10 in the NBA. NBA franchises do whatever they can to acquire one of these players, which is what the Nets did. He was clearly the most coveted free agent in this class and the Nets did what was necessary to retain him, making what was an already good trade into what could become the best trade in team history.
- Sandy Dover: A
- Dennis Velasco: A+, and that’s without taking into account tonight’s re-signing by D-Will. Make no mistake, getting a player of his caliber hadn’t been seen in a Nets uni since Jason Kidd and it was a gamechanger. Yes, there was a risk that Williams would bolt after his contract was up and he could opt-out, but for a franchise such as the Nets, one starving to become relevant, let alone win, the trade was a no-brainer. The deal had to be done despite losing a very promising big man in Favors. And I was a big fan of his potential. Let me emphasize… his potential. You knew what D-Will brought on the court and it was significant. He produced and produced big. The Nets needed a direction and Williams brought that. Even if there was a chance he would hop off and go his on way.
- Chris Hooker: A+. A trade worth the risk from the get-go just became validated. Given that Devin Harris is now on his second team since his departure from the Nets, and the lack of impressive play from both Favors and Kanter, I think it’s clear the Nets got the better end of the bargain. D-Will is an elite player at the most important position in basketball and his signing is going to be the first domino to fall.
2. Now that D-Will is on board for the time being, what do you think the next move is?
- Justin DeFeo: The narrative loving, superstar wanting portion of my brain says, keep everything in line for the possible acquisition of Dwight Howard and continue leaning on Orlando until they are bullied into a deal. The reasonable, measured side of my brain says make Brook the priority, make him feel like he’s a part of the longterm plans of the organization and get him to re-sign. Then use whatever money is leftover to fill out the roster (hopefully targeting some front-court depth and maybe another shooter to come off the bench).
- Sandy Dover: The next move is to find a way to trade Gerald Wallace next season, but before that, secure Kris Humphries and load the bench with young legs, defense, and shooting.
- Dennis Velasco: Obviously, it’s do everything you can to get Dwight Howard and finally get the duo together… and that’s what they’re doing. So, to be even more obvious in answering this question, how about this? Just keep adding talent to the team. And it’s for that very reason that I am now somewhat fine with the Joe Johnson trade. Somewhat. Horrendous contract aside, the dude can ball. Cap space at this point can only do so much and it’s about time the Nets actually used it. To echo something I mentioned above – enough potential… it’s time to produce.
- Chris Hooker: While I would love to have Dwight Howard on the team and will admit to my heart skipping a beat anytime his name is mentioned in trade talks (this morning, specifically), I am content with Brook Lopez manning the center position. The dude has been through a lot and deserves to be given a chance – a real, healthy chance – into going into Brooklyn. I think we all forget how different of a team we were when he was on the court those five games last year and while he isn’t Dwight Howard, he is still no scrub. I think Brook can have a monster season. Next move: lock him up.
3. What does this signing mean for the organization as a whole?
- Justin DeFeo: Relevancy. Teams like the Spurs, Celtics, Lakers and other organizations have great winning cultures that sustain over the years, but it has to start somewhere. I believe this to be a starting point for what could become a longterm, successful situation in Brooklyn.
- Sandy Dover: Williams’ signing means that the Nets are still valuable to a star, and if one star believes it, then he can convince others that that place is valuable, too. And that place is now Brooklyn, New York.
- Dennis Velasco: The signing legitimizes the Nets franchise. They are “real’ now to the rest of the NBA and the general NBA fan. Even with D-Will on the squad for the last year and a half, they weren’t “real.” All of the naysayers said that once he gets the chance, Williams would break out. There was no way that he would stay with such a bad franchise. No way. Well, guess what? Yes way. Be happy, Nets fans! And for all the haters, you get DEEZ!
- Chris Hooker: For one, it means that the Nets are now competitive with my two least favorite basketball teams by far: first and foremost, the Boston Celtics, and second, the New York Knicks. But on a larger scale, this is huge for the franchise because Deron Williams chose us. It doesn’t matter that we were 12-70, we were a laughing stock, an embarrassment. We are good enough for a top-tier player and he wanted to play basketball for our team. That says a whole hell of a lot.