Point guard Deron Williams told New York reporters today that one of the reasons he decided to sign a free agent contract with the Brooklyn Nets this past July is because of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Williams had narrowed his free agent choices down to the Mavs and Nets. But when a Mavs' contingent of coach Rick Carlisle, general manager Donnie Nelson and special consultant Michael Finley met with Williams in New York to try and convince him to sign with the Mavs, conspicuous by his absence was Cuban, who had a prior commitment to be in Los Angeles to film his TV show, Shark Tank.
"Of course,'' Williams told the New York Post today when he was asked if Cuban's absence at the July 2 meeting influenced his decision not to sign with the Mavs.
“I mean, I think he would have been able to answer some of the questions,'' Williams said. "A lot of the questions that me and my agent had for him really didn’t get answered that day, pertaining to the future. I think, if he was there, he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit better, (and) maybe would have helped me.”
To explain his point, Williams went back to when he had a difficult decision to make coming out of The Colony High School during the college recruiting season.
“My top four, when I was coming out of high school was Illinois, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Maryland,” Williams said. “Maryland told me they wanted me to come on a visit, but (coach) Gary Williams wouldn’t be there.
"So, I told them ‘It’s OK. I’d rather not go. That was the end of that.''
Williams, who played collegiately at Illinois, told reporters he wanted to hear specifically from Cuban about future plans for the Mavs. And he wanted him to attend the important meeting in New York.
“Just more to the direction of the future of the team, other than Dirk (Nowitzki) -- players they were thinking about,” Williams said. “Everything was just about, basically, their track record. Trust their track record.
“Which, I could honor that, because they have a good track record, but it’s not enough for me to switch organizations. Especially when (Nets general mananger) Billy (King) was updating me daily.”
About two months ago, Cuban went on the Ben & Skin Show on ESPN 103.3 FM and said, in hindsight, the Mavs were better off because they didn't sign Williams.
“Maybe (it would have helped), you know, because I always think I can close a sale,” Cuban said. “But, in hindsight, I don’t know if I would have been happy.
"I think we’re in better position now than we would have been if we had gotten him.”
Cuban went on to say on the Ben & Skin Show: "I don't want to pick on Deron Williams because he's a great, great, great player, and so it's not necessarily him, per se. The conversation we had going back and forth -- and obviously the decision was to go for him -- but the conversation was, 'OK, once you add $17.1 million in salary to what we'd have with Dirk and Trix (Shawn Marion), then what do you do?'
That's your squad. And it's not just your squad for this year. It's your squad for next year other than the $3.3 million mini mid-level. So that was a challenge that we had because we want to win, and everybody talks about Dirk's window. Well, not only would it have been difficult to add players, then it also would have been difficult to trade players, and in reality that was the same problem that Deron had. Because he looked and saw the same thing and said, 'OK, now what are you going to do?' ''
Williams said he's not concerned about what Cuban said, and even reference comments Cuban made after point guard Jason Kidd decided not to re-sign a free agent contract with the Mavs and instead decided to sign with the New York Knicks.
“That’s Mark,” Williams told the New York Post. “He does that about a lot of people -- he’s (like) that about Kidd now. I mean, it don’t matter with me.
“I’m not concerning myself with them anymore. I’m a Brooklyn Net, I’m not a Dallas Maverick. I’m worried about what’s going on here, with what our team is doing, and I can’t really worry about what’s being said.''
-- Dwain Price
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