Q : What happens when you’re widely suspected to have dissed a Hall Of Fame coach into retirement? A: If you’re Deron Williams (above), you find yourself traded to Basketball Siberia. Or more accurately, Newark, NJ. While Raja Bell is said to have assured Williams that “New Jersey is a good place to live”. While admitted the currently constituted Nets, “don’t really smack of playoff potential”, Ball Don’t Lie’s Kelly Dwyer makes a pretty good case for the D-Will acquisition being a more than sufficient consolation prize for Mikhail Prokhorov & Billy King after losing out on the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes.
Prokorov appears to be competing against the Knicks, and little else, at this point. Knicks fans would (or, at least, “should”) probably prefer a core including Amar’e Stoudemire, Danilo Gallinari/Wilson Chandler, and Deron Williams to the current Amar’e/Carmelo/Chauncey Billups trio, but it’s unclear if the Knicks were ever going to be able to grab Williams with the assets they had to offer.
If Williams extends his contract with the Nets later this year, both he and Brook Lopez (assuming he re-signs) will be working under contracts developed under the next collective bargaining agreement. This means the deals that could be worth about 60 or 70 percent of what Stoudemire and Anthony will earn in New York. And while Lopez and Williams aren’t as good as Stoudemire and Anthony in total, they’re certainly better than 60 or 70 percent as good as New York’s flashy duo.