Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
If you’re Deron Williams, do you still believe in the rosy future the Nets have been pitching?
Steve Aschburner: If I’m Deron Williams, I believe in my ability to help a team realize the sort of future the Nets have been pitching. Which is to say, if Williams is the franchise-defining player he thinks he is, then it has to start with him. Don’t go shopping for the cushiest, pre-made situation. Don’t butt heads with the next coaching legend you’re lucky to work with. Be the biggest part of the solution. Plant the flag yourself. Enough already with front-running stars scoping out and jumping to easier circumstances when they ought to be digging down and creating the happy times right where they are.
Fran Blinebury: I didn’t believe in it when the Nets first traded for him. I don’t think they have what it will take to get Dwight Howard in a trade when Otis Smith finally has to make his move close to the deadline. And without Howard, there’s no bright future in Brooklyn. Hello, Dallas.
Scott Howard-Cooper: If I’m Deron Williams, I never believed it in the first place. Based on what? The excitement of a new owner who shows a commitment to spending? That’s a nice starting point, but there were also some terrible decisions a couple summers ago. The Nets have a future. That’s it. Reaching rosy status will take another big acquisition, whether by trade or free agency, while also retaining Williams.
Shaun Powell: Until they prove otherwise, the Nets are cursed, much like the Clippers. That’s according to their history, admittedly, and doesn’t necessarily have much to do with the present administration. However, certan teams (and players for that matter) just can’t shake free from a stigma. To summarize: Deron Williams needs to keep a careful eye out as long as he’s wearing a Nets jersey. And find out what Dwight Howard’s plans are, too.
John Schuhmann: Yes. Nothing has really changed since the start of the season, when Williams expressed confidence in Billy King’s game plan, which is to go all-in on Dwight Howard by preserving assets and next year’s cap space. All indications are that Brooklyn is Howard’s preferred destination, and the Nets have both the assets (Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks, picks and expiring deals to exchange for Hedo Turkoglu) and the leverage (the ability to sign Howard in the summer) to get a deal done. The Lopez injury was a setback, it’s been a pretty ugly month and a half, and a Howard trade certainly isn’t guaranteed. But nothing has really altered King’s vision of opening the Barclays Center with Dwight and D-Will as Brooklyn Nets.
Sekou Smith: Who says he ever believed it? Williams was put in an impossible situation last season when the Jazz traded him to the Nets. Unlike many of his superstar peers, he didn’t make a decision to take his talents to Newark. That decision was made for him. Whether or not he’s buying into the Brooklyn future of the Nets remains to be seen. And just how rosy was that future supposed to be anyway?