NBA AM: Is Deron Williams Headed To Dallas?
Williams Watch: For Nets’ General Manager Billy King, the clock on his off-season begins in just 23 days.
In 23 days he is going to envision every horror scenario you can imagine, especially those surrounding the fate of Nets’ All-Star Deron Williams.
Williams has made it clear he will opt for free agency on July 1st, so King has less than 90 days to make the future of the Nets look brighter than other situations and that’s a process he feels comfortable with.
“He’s been involved in the process since December,” King said to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports. “We talked about, ‘This is Plan A and this is Plan B and C.’
“In training camp he was in my office after practice every day just sitting there. He calls himself, ‘the assistant GM.’
While King worked the front channels trying to improve the team, Williams worked the back channels trying to lure in players like Orlando’s Dwight Howard.
“Oh yeah, it definitely would have changed things,” admitted Williams. “I’ve already made it known that if [Howard] would have come I probably would have stayed.”
Howard shocked the NBA world when he opted into the final year of his contract with Orlando, which puts Williams’ future squarely in question.
“It’s a decision he made for himself,” Williams said of Howard. “I really have no comment on it. He did what was best for him. I respect that. I’m still friends with him.”
Williams has been clear that getting to July is about seeing what’s out there for his future, and that’s something the Nets are at peace with.
“I want to win. At the end of the day, I’m not getting any younger,” Williams said. “I’ll be 28 when I sign this next deal. I have to look for the best situation for me.”
“People get traded all the time,” Williams explained. “They don’t get backlash as an organization. If [players] leave, we are not loyal, we are ungrateful. People say stuff to me on Twitter. They already think I’m gone. They are out there bashing me, saying to me I’m a traitor.
“I didn’t ask to be here. I got traded. I didn’t come here being a free agent. This is the first time that I’m a free agent in my career.”
Williams has been linked repeatedly to his hometown Dallas Mavericks who will have the cap space to sign Williams outright in July.
Williams has heard from family members in the region, but insists no one is urging him one way or the other.
“No pressure. They know it’s my decision,” Williams said of his family. “People know how I am so they’re not going to say anything to me. They’d definitely love for me to play [in Dallas]. I know that. I’ve known that my whole career. The fans on Twitter, a lot of Dallas fans on Twitter, tell me to come back home. We’ll see.”
The Nets look to have about $18 million in usable cap space to add to Williams assuming both Gerald Wallace ($9.5 million) and Jordan Farmar ($4.25 million) exercise their Player Options.
The Nets cap figure also includes a $4.19 million Qualifying Offer for Brook Lopez.
The Nets have rights to their own draft picks if it falls in the top 3, however if it’s 4 or lower it goes to Portland.
Based on the current NBA standings the Nets pick should fall at 6 this year unless they get some lottery luck.
The Nets also have rights Houston’s 2012 first-round pick as a result of the Terrence Williams trade, assuming that pick falls below 14. Based on the standings today Houston’s pick should fall in the 16th pick range assuming Houston can stay in the playoff picture.
Who Goes Where?: Congratulations to the University of Kentucky and all of their fans and staff. The Wildcats were legitimately the best college team in the nation and proved it throughout the tournament and capping their season by winning the 2012 National Championship.
Both Kentucky and Kansas will have a hard time returning to the big dance next year in Atlanta as almost everyone who logged major minutes last night has real NBA potential.
Last night’s game featured eight players with the NBA squarely in their future and two more that are bubble guys to be drafted.
Here is a look at who is likely hiring an agent within the next seven days:
Anthony Davis – Kentucky – PF – 6’10″ – 220
Anthony Davis is hands down the top overall pick in June 28th NBA draft. He has the perfect mix of size, toughness and shot blocking that NBA teams salivate for. Add the fact that Davis is a solid shooter and excellent team mate. Davis is a lock for the top spot.
Projected Range: #1 overall in the first round.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Kentucky – SF – 6’7″ – 228
MKG is the top small forward prospect. He is arguably the second best overall talent and he is likely the most NBA ready player on the draft radar. Kidd-Gilchrist is a proto-typical player in his size and game. NBA teams that need an impact small forward will look seriously at trading up for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He is a game changer at the next level.
Projected Range: First five picks.
Thomas Robinson – Kansas – PF – 6’9″ – 240
Thomas Robinson is a beast. He has the entire package that NBA teams look for in front court players. He has a mature NBA body. He is a tenacious rebounder and he can score in the paint and in traffic.
Projected Range: First six picks in the first round.
Terrence Jones – Kentucky – SF/PF – 6’9″ – 249
Terrence has been overshadowed all year by his freshmen teammates but that won’t impact how NBA teams view him. He is not a huge game changer, but he does have lottery potential and a large number of teams are going to want to work him out. Jones isn’t nearly the perimeter player to be a true small forward at the NBA level and he’s not the physical monster teams covet at the power forward spot. Jones is likely a serviceable NBA reserve, but casting him as a star at the next level might be a reach.
Projected Range: First 20 picks in the first round.
Marquis Teague – Kentucky – PG – 6’2″ – 179
There is a real lack of talent at the point position in this draft class which means Teague, who is a decent enough guard, likely is a first round pick. Teague isn’t nearly the NBA prospect his brother Jeff was coming out of Wake Forest, but he is a decent enough NBA prospect to be considered a first rounder. If Teague opts to stay at Kentucky for another year his stock could go up but given the guards that are on the radar for the class of 2013, Teague may be best served trying his luck and seeing if a team falls in love with his leadership.
Projected Range: Late teens to mid-twenties in the first round.
Tyshawn Taylor – Kansas – PG – 6’3″ – 180
Tyshawn proved in the run up to the National Championship that he can be an elite point guard. The problem is he just doesn’t do it consistently. Tyshawn is a solid NBA prospect, but he will really have to prove to teams that he can do it on a night in and night out basis. Tyshawn is a big physical guard that can get into the paint on the drive. With so few impact point guards in this draft class. Tyshawn looks like a first rounder by default.
Projected Range: Late teens to twenties in the first round.
Doron Lamb – Kentucky – SG – 6’4″ – 170
If you didn’t known Doron Lamb before last night, he sure introduced himself. His 22 points is a huge reason Kentucky has a championship today and Lamb put the entire game on display last night. Doron might be best served staying at Kentucky for another year, although it’s highly unlikely he can do much more than he’s done. Like the point guard position, this draft class lacks a lot of talent at the shooting guard position and Lamb could be the third or fourth best prospect on the board at his position. If he can go into NBA workouts and dominate players in front of him, he could do well for himself.
Projected Range: Late first, early second round.
Darius Miller – Kentucky – SF – 6’7″ – 230
As one of the few seniors at Kentucky, Miller’s college career is complete. Miller will really need to show teams in workouts that he has something special to offer, because while he was effective at Kentucky, he may not be an impact guy at the next level. Miller is a decent perimeter scorer, and he does have a little bounce to his game. He’ll need to showcase his skills in workouts to really cement a role at the next level.
Projected Range: Mid Second round.
Jeff Withey – Kansas – C – 6’11″ – 240
As they say you cannot teach tall, and Jeff is a legit 7 footer. Jeff is not going to blow you away with his athletic game; however he is a tough physical front court player and when you consider how few legit bigs there are in the NBA. Jeff is likely a draft pick in June if he opts to forego his senior year at Kansas.
Projected Range: Mid Second to late round.
Travis Releford – Kansas – SG – 6’6″ – 210
Travis has one more year of eligibility and he should strongly consider using it. Travis was a decent support player for Kansas and was a key player in the run to the National Championship game, but his body of work and overall skill set have him on the outside looking in at maybe 70 to 75 players ahead of him in the process. Travis is a named player, but when you consider named guys like Jacob Pullen and Kalin Lucas went undrafted last year. Releford could be in the same boat if he opts for the draft.
Projected Range: Late second round to undrafted.
Elijah Johnson – Kansas – PG/SG – 6’2″ – 183
Elijah did well for himself this year at Kansas; however he is on the outside of the top 60 looking in. There is a chance that he could win himself a draft pick in the second round if he outworks guys in workouts, but he may be best served staying at Kansas for his final year. As a tweener guard, he is a decent enough player, but given how many guys there are in front of him, opting for the NBA this year may be a reach.
Projected Range: Late second round to undrafted.
The NCAA requires all players to decide their draft status by April 10th without penalty, so most of the players above have less than a week to decide if the NBA is in their future.
The 2012 NBA Draft is just 86 days away, and teams who’s season will wrap up in 23 days will start spending more time on draft prospects starting with the Portsmouth Invitational tournament next week.
Jamison Not Thrilled With The Cavs: The Cavs were a one game out of the playoff picture going into the All-Star break, but since then the Cavs have won just four games and have now lost seven straight and nine of their last ten.
Antawn Jamison was talking about new contracts in Cleveland before the mid-season break, and with the season and the floor falling out from under him; his future with the Cavs has suddenly become cloudy.
“I want to win,” Jamison said to Jason Lloyd of the Beacon Journal. “Tomorrow is not promised. I might not be here next year. I can’t worry about what we’re planning for next year. For me and a lot of these other guys, what can we do now? It was tough to know we were so close and instead of taking steps forward, we took dramatic steps backward.”
The dramatic steps back include trading away Ramon Sessions in what amounted as a dump by the Cavs.
“I wouldn’t say I was OK with it,” Jamison said. “He’s a guy who was a veteran, we played well together and he’s a big piece to the puzzle. Granted, we didn’t foresee [Daniel] Gibson getting hurt and Kyrie missing a couple of games or it would’ve been a different story. That’s part of the business. You have to deal with it, you have to move forward.”
The Cavs have been thrilled with Jamison’s leadership and had introduced the idea of a new contract this summer that would have him finishing his career in Cleveland.
“I appreciate the things this organization has done for me,” Jamison said. “I’ve been through a lot of coaches; by far this has been my favorite coaching staff to play with and to learn things from. But to sit here and say I can see myself coming back or there’s a chance of me coming back right now, that’s one of those decisions you really have to clear your mind, let the batteries get re-juiced. It’s going to be [made] collectively with the family and myself and what I really want to do.”
Based on the standings today the Cavs may have lost their way into another top five draft pick, and while that’s good for the future of the team a large number of veterans are tired of the losing with Jamison just being the most vocal.
Jamison is in the final year of his contract and will earn roughly $15.07 million this year. The Cavs will hold Jamison’s bird rights and can either sign him to a new deal or sign and trade him somewhere else and get assets in return.
The Cavs currently have $31.6 million in salary commitments including the non-guaranteed $4.79 million owed to the injured Daniel Gibson.
The 2012-2013 salary cap will be no lower than the current $58 million, meaning the Cavs could have north of $26 million to spend on free agents, making them one of the teams with the most money to offer.
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