Deron Williams met with his top suitors on Monday.
On Tuesday, the summer’s most coveted free agent announced a decision on his Twitter account.
“Made a very tough decision today….” Williams tweeted, linking to the new team logo that accompanies the Nets’ move from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
He will remain with the Nets as the franchise gets ready for its first season in Brooklyn in 2012-13. Williams had limited his choices down to the Nets and his hometown team Dallas Mavericks and was reportedly mulling over the decision.
The All-Star point guard said he wanted to make his decision before training camp started for the Olympics. He told the Nets the good news Tuesday, while the Mavericks were told of Williams’ decision by agent Jeff Schwartz.
Read full story after the jumpWilliams will re-up for five years, $98 million, a person familiar with the agreement told USA TODAY Sports. Williams cannot sign the deal until July 11 when the free agency moratorium ends. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal is not official. Even though the Williams deal is adding to the Nets’ high payroll, the person added that general manager Billy King still wants to acquire center Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic.
Howard has made it clear he wants to play for the Nets. But a person familiar with Orlando’s situation told USA TODAY Sports the Magic want to make the right deal and won’t be rushed into anything. The person said it was premature to say the two teams were close to a deal and that the Magic were also talking to other teams.
The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about Howard’s situation.
The Nets, who finished 22-44 last season, have become a better and high-priced team in the past two days.
On Monday, the Nets acquired guard Joe Johnson and the remaining $89.3 million and four seasons left on his contract, and they reached a new four-year, $40 million deal with forward Gerald Wallace.
The combo of Williams and Johnson give the Nets one of the most dangerous backcourts in the league. Williams averaged 21 points and 8.7 assists last season, while Johnson averaged 18.8 points.
Getting Williams is big-time signing for the Nets, looking to build the buzz for their move to New York next season. The team is preparing to move into the new Barclays Center to start the season. With Williams and a revamped roster taking shape, the Nets are now suddenly positioned to challenge the Knicks for bragging rights in the Big Apple.
The Nets acquired Williams in a surprising February 2011 trade, sending promising forward Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris, two first-round draft picks and cash to the Utah Jazz. The Nets have gone 29-72 since Williams’ arrival. When King signed Williams back in 2011, it was considered a huge risk because Williams had only 17 months left on his contract.
Now, King and Nets fans can breathe easy.
One domino in the point guard sweepstakes fell with Williams. Now, Steve Nash is next. Nash almost will certainly get a call from the Dallas Mavericks, whose first option was Williams. Nash has plenty of suitors – the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, possibly the Miami Heat and now the Mavericks.
There are several point guards available, too, after Nash, starting with Jeremy Lin who is a restricted free agent. But he’s not the only player on wish lists. Jason Kidd (unrestricted), Chauncey Billups (unrestricted), Jameer Nelson (unrestricted), Goran Dragic (unrestricted) and Ramon Sessions (unrestricted) are just some of the point guards available.
While it was believed that Williams and golfing partner Kidd would come in a package deal, it does not seem likely that ex-Net Kidd, 39, will return to the franchise he led to two NBA finals appearances. According to an ESPN report, Kidd has his choices slimmed down to the New York Knicks and the Mavericks.