Prokhorov’s Relationship with Williams Critical to Future of Franchise
Added by Deshawn Jelani on April 11, 2012.
Deron Williams will opt-out of his contract after this season. The Nets must sign him back or risk losing fans with the move to Brooklyn.
At a news conference at the soon-to-be Nets home, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, New Jersey Nets majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov told reporters that he had a meeting with all-star point guard Deron Williams on Monday.
This meeting, and the relationship between Prokhorov and Williams ,will prove to be of greatest importance for the near and distant future of this organization.
Williams has stated that he will opt out of the last year of his current contract with New Jersey at the end of the season to become an unrestricted free agent. The Nets are at liberty to offer Williams a five-year, $109 million contract, which will be more than what any other franchise can offer him.
Prokhorov, along with general manager Billy King and owners Shawn Carter and Bruce Ratner, will have the hefty task of courting the superstar guard and convincing him to play the next five years of his career in their new facility in Brooklyn.
The importance of signing Deron Williams is gargantuan. To date, the New Jersey Nets have failed to lure Lebron James and Dewayne Wade to sign with their organization during the 2010 free agent period, and recently floundered the opportunity at acquiring all-star center Dwight Howard before the trade deadline in March. It is becoming more apparent that no elite player is willing to play for the Nets, and, if Williams follows in similar footsteps as his peers, the trend may continue for years to come.
Bottom line, top players in the NBA want to win. Being part of a large market is not enough to attract top talent (ask the Knicks how long its been since they’ve sniffed success.) Winning can only be achieved with talent, and, if the Nets continue to lose talent like Williams, they can never make themselves an attractive destination for elite free agents to sign with the organization. Enticing players to want to be traded (with the Nets as a possible destination) will be quite difficult as well.
Moreover, if Williams fails to sign with the team, the desirability of the franchise will be in jeopardy. Players talk amongst one another, and many of the great players are good friends with one another (which also factors in to where they want to play). If Deron decides to take his talents to his hometown Dallas, TX or somewhere else, other players may lose interest in signing with Nets as well.
“I think [Deron] wants to win and he wants to be part of a great franchise,” Prokhorov said at the press conference. “So we have the same view.”
“We (had), I think, a very good discussion. He really wants to win, and I want to (win) maybe even more. I really want to go into details, but I think, at this stage, we’re on the same page.”
Nets fans better seriously hope Prokhorov is not just blowing smoke. It’s bad enough that management has put all their eggs in one basket by not only failing to trade Deron Williams before the trade deadline, but also trading away a protected 2012 First-round draft pick for forward Gerald Wallace, who is due to become an unrestricted free agent in 2013. The Nets then could lose two star players to free agency with nothing in return to show for it, and would lose the opportunity to build their team through the draft.
One would think that we have all learned something after enduring the Lebron James free agent fiasco, but it seems that the Nets management, like the Cavaliers, are willing to hope that their star player will resign even after opting out of their contract and failing to sign an extension before the March 15 trade deadline.
Prokhorov, who has only attended one game so far this season, stated that “[The Nets] need to go slow, step by step to find the best pieces for the team.” Deron Williams is more than just a significant piece; he may make or destroy the future of what this franchise is attempting to build in Brooklyn as they try to recover from back-to-back twenty-something win seasons.