HANG TIME CAPITAL BUREAU — It is D-Day in Brooklyn. D for Deron Williams, and Decision, and Dilemma.
The Nets will meet with Williams and his representatives today, hoping to convince the 28-year-old that they have a plan in place to surround him with enough quality talent that he can compete with the likes of the Heat, Celtics and Bulls in the Eastern Conference. But Williams will also meet with the Mavericks, who will approach him with a simple argument: we’ve won a championship, and we already have a superstar, in Dirk Nowitzki.
The Nets have not, a source directly involved in the negotiations said Monday morning, reached out to Jeremy Lin, the Knicks’ free agent guard. Nor have they explored looking at the Hornets’ restricted free agent guard Eric Gordon.
Brooklyn’s only fallback if Williams goes to Dallas is Steve Nash, who met with the Raptors and Knicks Sunday and will meet with Miami, Indiana and his incumbent team, Phoenix, in the next couple of days.
The Nets’ group meeting with Williams does not include principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov. But the billionaire entrepreneur has met with Williams several times in the last few months, detailing the vision he has for Williams and the franchise to become global icons in the next few years.
Brooklyn hopes it can finalize discussions with the Hawks that would lead to a trade for All-Star guard Joe Johnson on July 11, the end of free agency’s moratorium. (The moratorium prohibits teams and players from entering into contracts until the league and union set next season’s salary cap number.)
The Nets already have reached tentative agreement to retain free agent forward Gerald Wallace with a four-year, $40 million deal. Wallace, a source said, agreed to take less money in the first year of the deal than the $9.5 million he made last season to give Brooklyn more cap flexibility for additional deals.
The Mavericks have spent the last year creating cap flexibility for this summer. Even though Dallas technically is only $10 million or so under the cap when factoring in cap holds and first-year salaries of the three Draft picks the Mavericks acquired last week, the Mavericks can easily clear another $13 million by cutting the non-guaranteed deals of Vince Carter and Brandan Wright and using the one-time amnesty clause on center Brendan Haywood, who’s due to make $8.3 million next season.
Brooklyn’s appeal to Nash will be the same as it makes to Williams. Nash spends his offseason in New York’s Soho neighborhood, and the Nets will tell the 38-year-old that they will get enough players to play with him to be able to compete now.
Numerous reports Sunday said the Raptors offered Nash a three-year, $36 million deal, and also indicated they’d be willing to give Nash a front office position with the franchise when he’s done playing. The Knicks can only offer Nash the mini mid-level exception starting at $3.09 million, and could only create additional room if they worked out a sign-and-trade deal with Phoenix for Nash.
The one player that would make sense in such a scenario is second-year guard Iman Shumpert, whom Phoenix almost took in the first round of the 2011 Draft before selecting Kansas forward Markieff Morris.