Meeting Day For D-Will, Nets And Mavs

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Opening and closing arguments all in one day.

Can you think of a better way for the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks to make their free-agent sales pitches to Deron Williams today?

Even though free agency kicked off at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, this is the day Williams designated for both teams competing for his services to make their presentations.

(Here’s David Aldridge’s take on the day of sales pitches from the Mavs and Nets)

It’s no secret Williams has been No. 1 on the summer to-do list for both franchises. The Nets have the luxury of having had his ear for the past season and a half. And Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has no doubt made clear to Williams that they are willing to do whatever it takes (Dwight Howard) to build in Brooklyn the sort of team Williams can help guide to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.

The Mavericks, led by owner Mark Cuban, offer a chance for Williams — a former Texas prep star — to return home to a championship organization and slide into position on a roster featuring another superstar, Dirk Nowitzki, already set to give chase for the top spot in the Western Conference.

The Nets can offer a contract worth nearly $100 million, while the Mavericks are offering a four-year deal in the neighborhood of $75 million, so there is a distinct, bottom-line difference in what’s on the table for Williams.

This is the sort of high-powered tug of war that free agency presents every July, but rarely have we had such an intriguing cast of characters involved in one story line.

Dwight Howard, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Joe Johnson are just a few of the other All-Stars and future Hall of Famers (in the case of Kidd and Nash), whose fates are directly tied to whatever decision Williams makes after hearing the oral arguments from both sides.

Howard and Nash have already made their own headlines, with Howard breaking his long silence and reiterating a trade demand delivered to the Orlando Magic months ago and Nash creating a splash up north with that three-year, $36 million contract offer from the Toronto Raptors.

And still, nothing gets done before Williams finishes up with the Nets and Mavericks, whose offseason and foreseeable futures hinge on their success or failure in pursuing the man.

The Mavericks are reportedly up first this afternoon, and according to’s Marc Stein, they’ll launch their campaign without either Cuban or Nowitzki on the scene:

Sources close to the situation told that Nowitzki — who has maintained a friendship with Williams over the past few seasons — and Mavs owner Mark Cuban have been making their recruiting pitches to Williams by phone since free agency began Sunday at 12:01 a.m.

Yet with Nowitzki traveling abroad this week and Cuban in Los Angeles working on his “Shark Tank” television show, sources say that Dallas will be represented in Monday’s sitdown with Williams by president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, coach Rick Carlisle and former Mavericks franchise player Michael Finley, who is making the trip in an unofficial ambassadorial role.

In reality, though, Dallas’ lead recruiter in the quest to sign Williams is Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd, who has spent the bulk of the week in close proximity to Williams in the Hamptons on a golf vacation.

ESPN The Magazine‘s Chris Broussard reported Sunday that Williams remains “torn” by the difficult decision, but the 28-year-old remains on course to choose his destination by Independence Day so he can report to Team USA training camp in Las Vegas on July 5.

The Nets’ pitch is a bit different, given that they have a few more moving pieces to deal with than the Mavericks right now. There’s Howard’s situation, namely how the Magic responds to his latest trade request demand, and whether or not they rush to react or take their time and ignore the deadline Williams has in place for making up his mind.

So many other factors have to be considered by both the Nets and Magic, as Ken Berger of reminds us, with both teams working on multiple fronts to shore up their own situations:

The Nets already have agreed to terms with Gerald Wallace on a four-year, $40 million deal, and have engaged representatives for their own restricted free-agent center, Brook Lopez, in discussions about a long-term deal. League sources believe the Johnson-to-Brooklyn deal has a strong chance of happening in the next 48 hours. If it does, it just goes to show you that you can have any collective bargaining agreement you want — there’s still no substitute for having one of the richest men on the planet own your basketball team.

One point worth making, though. While the Magic plan to be patient with the process of trading Howard, think for a moment how Hennigan feels about watching the Nets — Howard’s preferred team — filling their cap space with Johnson, Wallace, Lopez and others instead of Howard and either Hedo Turkoglu or Jason Richardson. In addition to getting young players and draft picks for Howard, a key goal for Orlando is to move bad contracts — contracts that the Nets are, at the moment, one of the few teams that could absorb them. Once Brooklyn moves forward with Wallace and Johnson and re-signs Lopez, that trade avenue will be closed off to the Magic.

Things aren’t nearly as clear-cut for Nets general manager Billy King as they could be. It’s a much more complicated affair than the Nets had hoped for, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

According to a league source, the Nets are ready to give up on Dwight Howard, who, disgruntled as ever with the Magic, is in L.A. recovering from back surgery. Howard still wants to play in Brooklyn, but his decision to opt into the final year of his deal in March killed most of his leverage.

Wallace, who’ll turn 30 this month, was traded by Portland to the Nets in March for what turned out to be the sixth pick in this year’s draft. The Nets expected Wallace to pick up his one-year, $9.5 million player option when they traded for him. Instead, he became a free agent and signed into a much more lucrative situation.

By signing Wallace, the Nets avoided an embarrassing situation. Wallace played just 16 games at the end of a meaningless season before he was injured and became a free agent. The former All-Star averaged 15.2 points and 6.8 rebounds during his limited action in New Jersey.

A capable starter, Wallace will be part of King’s sell to Williams. But the Nets haven’t experienced much winning in the last three years, neither on the court nor in these types of meetings. In their notable sit-downs, they failed to secure commitments from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and, most embarrassingly, Carmelo Anthony.

They need Brooklyn, money and an upgraded roster to be the difference this time. If not, they’re just the Brooklyn Nyets.

We’ll know more before the clock strikes midnight, but even then we might not have all of the answers we need!


  1. I didn’t understand Dw. Howard staying with the Majic, He could have left and gone where ever. what was the wisdom in staying, I dont get it. He had said before tht he wanted to go to the Nets, well……why didn’t he?

    I like Joe J. with Wiliams in Brooklyn, that will be the best starting back court in basketball. Joe can focus on the 3 pt. shot and not try to carry a team. (he shot 47% in 3’s his last year in Phoenix) Lopez is good enough. With him and G. Wallace added, the Nets have something.

  2. j.will says:

    Dear D. Williams,

    I know you have been undecided that where you are at the standpoint and explore to find the team right and make a decision… ( I suggest you to go to LA and negotiate the GM LA). Once you join the lakers and will reality !

  3. jayson says:

    howard. .go for mav’s. . .this is your time to shine. .team mavs for D-HOWARD

  4. Carl says:

    either JJ is trade bait for dwight or russian rich owner says to hell with it i will pay the luxury tax and try and get JJ and dwight to start the nets off as best we can….

  5. D says:

    Dear D. Williams,

    I know you have been undecided that where you are at the standpoint and explore to find the team right and make a decision… ( I suggest you to go to LA and negotiate the GM LA). Once you join the lakers and will reality :)!

  6. Choker says:

    Dwill should join the nets. Brooklyn has great players there not to mention Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Marshon Brooks, Brook Lopez…. they have a bright future. Brooklyn should also sign back Humphries. Dwill is the star of the nets.

  7. vrbdeleon says:

    d will in lakers please.

  8. Sharquay says:

    You could call this “The Pursuit of Happy Nets”

  9. Lakers-R-Us says:

    They’re not holding him hostage! They’re just trying to get the best deal for their organization! Howard keeps putting a monkey -wrench in everything! Demanding a trade to one team only is very selfish, and limits Orlando’s options! Howard should stay in Orlando and wait for his free agency! And quit demanding a trade and stating how unhappy he is all the time! Or allow Orlando to receive something in return for trading him! My opinion is that he is being very ungrateful to the Orlando organization! He is a great player; but he should start doing things the right way!

    • Warriors408 says:

      u said it perfect! i lost alot of respect for Howard wit his cry baby acts. Great player but poor teammate

  10. Luke Walton says:

    I want to go to the bobcats

  11. i hope d will stays in brooklyn we need him to make a impact in the east we need more players there r so many free agents and the nets have alot of money dont end up like the knicks just thowing money for no reason and look at the players we can get to help d-qill get rid of G-WALLACE all hes looking for is a pay day he can be replaced or trade him pick up micheal beasley dont get joe johnson he cost way to much make a offfer to eric gordon o.j mayo get lopez back and other players that r freee agents and make a trade for howard or keep them but keep D-WILL intrested and out of dallas or anywere else we can also make a run for chris kaman the list goes on who wouldnt want to play in a brand new court with great fans and great hype i have faith thats nets can make the playoffs this year if they play it smart and hopefull the eastern finals fingers crossed untill off season is over LETS GO NETS HELLO BROOKLYN

  12. Flying Raijin_41 says:

    d.will must go to dallas. he has a big chance to win a title there than in brooklyn whom is fixing their line up right now…if the deal of joe johnson is done the nets has no reserve to help them…

  13. Malisha123 says:

    I think the Orlando Majic needs to let the Superman hostage go. He isn’t happy there and you will gain nothing from having him there being miserable. He gave you a lot of years and fortune. Please respect his wishes and move forward. I would grant him his wish to the NJ Nets, and try to get some money back on the deal to be able to get another big name player. Who knows he may come back one day if things don’t work out. I think he hates to leave, but he likes his promising future even more. The pressure of a decision was just too much when he signed the recent contract. Good Luck Dwight Howard!

    • couldnt have said it bettter myself let him go to brookyln you holding this man hostage let him go because no ones gonna trade for him if hes not gonna resign a contract so u gonna be mad at me if you get nothing and he becomes a free agent everyones gonna say he pulled a lebron when he warned over over again he wants to leave be smart and dont try to destroy someone who helped your team make it to the finals i hope he goes to brooklyn that would be great for him i hope dwight comes before the nets make a big mistake and take joe johnson

      • wadefan says:

        what kind of deal sends him to the nets.. it makes no sense.. he could’ve signed there easily enough if he wanted to.. all he had to do was exercise his player option and he’d be a free agent.. instead he waived that claus and decided to stay.. now he is trying to strong arm the magic.. they arent holding him hostage.. but they arent going to send him to the nets and get nothing in return.. they’ll make a deal that is best for him.. at this point they owe him nothing, he is just being a big baby

      • DARRICK FLYE says:

        WOW!!! The Orlando Magic are holding HIM hostage??? I COULDNT HAVE READ THIS CORRECTLY! YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING.

        Dwight Howard held this team hostage!!! And now he’s trying to do it again. For an entire year, I WANNA STAY, NO, I WANNA GO, NO, I WANNA STAY!. They give him what he wanted. They fired the coach, and the GM. He still wasnt man enough to admit what he got started. Now, hes doing it again. What does Orlando owe him. THEY HAVE MADE HIM A VERY WEALTHY MAN.

        But his inablility to stand up like a man and make a decision….is turning around an biting him on the you- know- what ! The Nets HAVE MOVED ON! They are trading for Joe Johnson, Resigning Lopez, and probably gonna resign Williams. Guess what? No cap space for Dwight now. Now whats he gonna do. DWIGHT……MAN UP!!!

  14. chandler says:

    d will back to jazz!!!!!!!!!