Recruiting Season Begins For Nets

LONDON — Road trips in the NBA have always provided the sort of seclusion and quality time members of the traveling party cherish. Ferrying a team across an ocean and to another continent, though, seems like a bit much, even by today’s standards.

Nets general manager Billy King isn’t complaining. Not with few of the normal distractions around as he continues to cultivate his relationship with the new face of the franchise, point guard Deron Williams.

It’s an ages old practice that has become increasingly more important in the last eight months since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami, and Carmelo Anthony joined Amar’e Stoudemire in New York, a movement of friends pairing up with other friends to form “super teams.”

King and the Nets are in full-blown sales mode, knowing full well that Williams has to be treated like the prized that he is. Williams can sign an extension in July, though, the current CBA expiring after this season throws a curve into the process. Still, the Nets have plenty of time to woo him. Williams also acknowledged that he, too, has to don his recruiter’s cap at this stage of his career, wherever he plays, in order to keep up with All-Star and Olympic team peers in Miami and New York.

“I’m going to have to [turn into a recruiter],” Williams said from a courtside seat Thursday morning after the Nets finished practice. “I tried to do it in Utah. But it’s tough. It was a tough situation. You’ve got to do it. Guys have to want to play with you and hopefully they will. And I’m going to try and recruit some guys to come here and help.”

That would be sweet music to King’s ears, had he heard Williams say it. But he was on the other side of the court joking with Sasha Vujacic as they both tried to playfully hustle each other in a shooting game. Even with all of the attention on Williams these days, King realizes that you have to maintain relationships with all of your players — not just the superstars.

“Yeah, I understand what you are saying. But I look at it from a standpoint of we have to do this everyday with all of our players because they are the ones that spread the message about your organization,” King said. “I’ve always been as a GM, one to cultivate relationships. I believe in having an open door and calling guys and texting guys and being available to them. That’s the job. So, it’s not just about Deron, it’s the way we treat all of our players. because again, they are the ones that spread the word. And it’s been that way from the day I came in here [to the Nets].”

So far so good. Keep in mind it’s only been a week.

“They’ve done a great job as far as making me and my family feel comfortable in a short time, as much as you with all the travel,” Williams said. “We haven’t had a chance to sit down and just chill. But everybody’s been great, the team has been great, the coaching staff has been great. The whole coaching staff has been great, making my experience great so far.”

Nets coach Avery Johnson continued his gushing about Williams Thursday, insisting that he has and will continue to modify his schemes to Williams’ skill-set, which shouldn’t be hard to do when you have arguably the best point guard in the league to work with. And that includes running more offensive sets where Williams can post up and shoot from beyond the 3-point line.

And Johnson said he didn’t need any extra time to familiarize himself with or get comfortable with his new point guard.

“I was comfortable with him when we made the trade,” he said. “The smart thing to do, when you have a guy of that magnitude, you get comfortable with him pretty quickly … a lot of the plays we had just didn’t fit his skill level, so we just threw ’em out. They are in the trash can. We kept some of the ones that fit his game. Then, in our last game, we added quite a few of the plays he was comfortable with from his time in Utah. And now the rest of the guys have to get on board with his situation and he has to get on board with some of the things we’re already doing for guys like Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries, Sasha Vujacic or Anthony Morrow.”

Williams isn’t worried about anyone remaking anything to please him. That said, the subtle tweaks have been well received. And the attention — from the organization, coaching staff and his teammates — is being duly noted.

A face-to-face meeting with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is expected sometime this weekend as well. “I think so,” Williams said when asked about it. “We’re supposed to [do that] at some point. I don’t know if he is here yet or not.”

In the meantime, the Nets will continue to make sure Williams understands exactly how they feel about him.

“I look at it as a process,” King said. “As we get to know each other better, he’ll get to know more about me and the organization.”

The process speeds up now for the Nets, especially with Williams in the fold, at least for now.

“Now we have a quarterback,” King said. “And you’ve got a center in Brook. And it’s easier to put the pieces around them knowing you have the right building blocks.”


  1. paolo says:

    Tsk. Dwight will go to Oklahoma. The east is so tight, he neesd to go west. And having howard in okc is an instant ring, not just once but it will be dynasty in the making. no need to reshuffle the line up.

  2. Jonathan Richter says:

    I actually think the Nets cab be a decent team next year with one great player at SF or two good players. I don’t see anyone I consider great available through free agency this off season, but I do see a couple of good ones we can get. I would sign Andre Kirilenko and David West. They shouldn’t be hard to recruit. West is from NJ and AK47 has a relationship with Proky. That would make our starting 5 Williams, Morrow, Kirilenko, West and Lopez, with Farmar, Vujacich, James, Humphries and Petro coming off the bench. I think that team can compete in the east. Howard doesn’t want to play in the cold weather, and waiting until 2012 is too long to convice Williams to resign with us, plus having him replace Lopez just means rebuilding at yet another position unless one of them plays at the 4.

  3. jay says:

    PF – Carl Landry and for backup Kris Humphries or Kenyon Martin
    SF – Andrei Kirilenko or Tayshaun Prince
    SG – Jamal Crawford, or Marcus Thornton and Reggie Williams

    2011 Lineup
    C- B. Lopez
    PF- C. Landry
    SF- A. Kirilenko
    SG- J. Crawford
    PG- D. Williams

  4. R says:

    They should keep Humphries as a backup. Sign C. Landry or K. Martin for the PF. At the SF they could sign either Kirilenko or Prince. if they want veterans minimum they could sign G. Hill or S. Battier. For the SG sign J. Crawford or R. Williams. They should keep that cap space to get D. Howard.

  5. z says:

    How come everyone is suddenly gushing about Williams and calling him the best point guard in the league? Where were you guys all this years he was playing in Utah? Oh wait, keep forgetting it’s all about the money and bling this days, and Utah doesn’t have either!

  6. lakers vs nets says:

    If this teams focus is on Dwight Howard then why dont they trade Brook Lopez for Andrea Bargnani. Remember the 2 average similar numbers but Bargnani is the more versatile player that can play C & PF, Nets could work on his game (defensivly) before they chase howard because i believe he would compliment Howard as his an athletic 7 footer that has a deadly shot & drive to basket. Now as for freeagency somebody mentioned Carl Landry earlier, they should definately aquirr this guy and play him PF while Bargnani is at the C till Howard comes, then move landry off the bench as long as Nets aren’t paying him alot. They could also use a star small forward or a shooting guard since you cant have both at once (salary cap).
    Gerald Wallace would have been a crazy player in Nets because of Deron’s feeding abilities. And so they could easily aquire Jr Smith this summer while they chase Dwight Howard & Gerald Wallace in 2012 as they’re both freeagents. This team can easily become something special but then having said that they can easily lose out on Deron & become nothing all over again!

  7. talefing says:

    during the offseason, Billy King needs to make this trade:

    To Portland:
    – C Brook Lopez
    – G Anthony Morrow
    – 2012 first round pick owned by Nets and 2013 first round pick (Nets)

    To New Jersey:
    – F LaMarcus Aldridge
    – C Greg Oden or G Rudy Fernandez

    with this trade, Dwight Howard coming to Brooklyn in 2012 will be a lock.

  8. leon says:

    our forward spots are too weak. I hope we can get Carl Landry, Andre Kirilenko or Shane Battier and Tayshaun Prince. Carl Landry is much better rather than David West and Zach Randolph because their cost is too high.

  9. munkhuu says:

    We Need to Get West on the Off Season and Trade For Jamal Crawford or IMO Granger which is much better

  10. someone says:

    Nets team are too hot to handle…Beyonce of Jay-Z, Kim Kardishian of Kris, Maria Sharapova of Shasha. LOL!

  11. puppydog says:

    We need a great small forward maybe awesome PF also

  12. b says:

    i think dwight will be a net. NY market in 2012 and williams passing you the rock is hard to resist. Could orchestrate a sign and trade ie lopez for howard which orlando would take as better than getting nothing in return. otherwise you sign howard and trade lopez for a PF or dynamic Wing player. i like humphries as a back up PF same with morrow at the 2 and then build around this core group. everyone is expendable apart from willaims.

  13. Trickery says:

    We Need to Get West on the Off Season and Trade For Jamal Crawford or IMO Granger which is much better

  14. basketballs deep says:

    I like Sekou Smith, but does no one proof read this stuff. Anyways, I’ve been a Utah fan for years and though Little D-Willy will be missed, he had a way of cutting down the team in the last couple of months. That sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. Considering he was easily the leader of the team his mood certainly wouldn’t make the rest of the team very confident. Instead of firing them up he broke them down. With everything that occurred with coach Sloan It makes me wonder if the closed door conversation between Sloan and the Jazz’s GM after that Bulls game was actually about trading Deron Williams. Keep in mind there was a couple of instances where D-Will turned over the ball in the closing stretch. Rose stole the ball from him like it was easy. Maybe Sloan couldn’t take the Jazz’s cheap play it way too safe style anymore. Utah might be a small market but the fans in Utah LOVE their team.

  15. Jake says:

    For some reason when they mentioned the face-to-face meeting with Prokorhov it made me think of The Emperor in Star Wars coming to inspect the progress on the Death Star. Somebody should make a movie spoof and Dwight Howard could be Luke Skywalker who the Emperor is trying to get to join him and Darth Vader (Deron Williams?).

  16. bruvva says:

    love to hear some analysis on the raptors and their bright future…potentially, they could be a great team in a few years but nobody sees their young talent–they work hard, they are just far too inexperienced right now. A good draft this June will determine alot, hopefully a guy like Harrison Barnes or Perry Jones falls to them. And let’s not forget they will have enough cap space to sign a top FA in 2012 with calderon’s deal expiring…maybe even D Will what you Nets fans think of that lol

  17. Benny says:

    We Utah fans definitely miss D-Will! He is a leader through and through and will do anything to win a championship.

  18. marius says:

    im excited that the nets made this move
    now just to build around d-will
    morrow is a good young shooter, and farmer is a good backup pg
    i also like outlaw, vujacic and as much as i hate him i cant deny hes doing his part off the bench
    i think lopez shld be looked at as an option for trading, he isnt a very solid rebounder or defender

    • pmichael says:

      Maybe trade him for Dwight? I’d say throw in Sasha, Outlaw and Graham. In my dreams I know, but we can dream!

  19. M I K E says:

    Sounds like Williams likes it here. Hopefully Deron is a leader like Wade and Amare, not a follower like LeBron, Bosh and Carmelo. The more I see and hear of Williams, the more I feel like the Nets did the right thing. If Deron sticks with the Nets then the future should be bright in Netsland ! Now lets get ourselves another PF. We need bigs !

  20. Nick says:

    Phone went mental then ! We should keep Lopez and Morrow , but the two have start playing better now , as for the rest they simply aren’t good enough ! I would love to think we could bring in Howard but I think is just a pipe dream ! A good power forward is a must !

  21. trix says:

    Willaims is a great player and adding him was a no-brainer for the nets. They need to build a good supporting cast around him and i firmly believe brook lopez is not a good enough to play 2nd fiddle, in my mind he is over-rated. He doesnt rebound like a centre. He scores but thats about it. They need to surround williams with a better supporting cast.

    • Nick says:

      If we’re being honest we need at least two or three new players better than our starting five ! Lo

    • Sean says:

      I totally agree with you. Brook isn’t good enough and truth is I don’t think he would put up those scoring numbers on a playoff caliber team. Brook is a starter not a star. He should be putting up greater scoring numbers and grabbing at least 9-10 boards per game on a team like the Nets. If i was running the Organization everyone on the roster would be trade bait except Williams,Morrow, and possible Sasha because he has great D and shooting ability. I actually believe that D Will wont resign and may go to play with someone else. Because Dwight isn’t going to go to a more worse team, if anything he’ll be in LA. This is a long shot but if the Lakers gave up odom,Brown,Blake,Bynum,artest,fisher they would be able to afford Williams and Howard and with those two playing along side Kobe and Pual who needs quality reserves. They would have a dynasty far beyond Kobe Bryants playing days, but this is just a huge off topic pipe dream sometimes i let my mind wonder.

      • bradenjames says:

        Deron is going to leave NJ, sorry Nets fans. Im from Utah and i wish him the best but i know how he is and he ultimatley does want to win a ring and he definatley is not goin to win one in NJ. The only stars he can recruit next year is D. Howard and CP3, and their not going after another point guard so throw out CP3. Howard isnt gonna go to NJ either, so Deron is going to get picked up by the Lakers or Dallas, both teams have old point guards that would be good off the bench if at all. (fisher and kidd) Thats where he’ll win his championship so thats where he’ll go, unless Jay-Z hooks him up with Beyonce’ sister (if she has one)!

      • Jake says:

        Sasha great D!? Give me a break he’s an oily, half-broken, machine.

      • puppydog says:

        Deron will stay in nj you hav no idea wat u takin bout and jason kidd is better than you’ll eva be hes in my fave 4 players all-time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • R4 says:

      where the information on the raptors, you know the other team that in London… getting bored of this Nets BS cuz at the end of the day when the new CBA comes into effect the structure of the nba will change.. soon you will have to talk about team you guys never watch. i think they should change nba reporter to reporter that do other teams than the top eight.