At this time last year, Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams, then celebrating his 28th birthday, was at a crossroads. He could’ve bolted for another team — most likely the Dallas Mavericks — and spent the rest of his career a thorn in Brooklyn’s side. It could’ve gotten Billy King fired, it could’ve gotten Avery Johnson fired faster (or weirdly, it could have helped him keep his job?), it could’ve kicked off Brooklyn as a laughingstock.
Or, he could re-up with the Nets for a maximum of five years and $98 million, sign his contract on an iPad, and lead the Nets to their first playoff appearance in six seasons.
One year later, that’s what we have.
Some would argue that Williams is overpaid (though his play in the second half of the season would disagree). But without him, we wouldn’t have the Brooklyn Nets. Happy birthday, Deron. Now enjoy some of your finest work.