The Dallas Mavericks have acquired former Nets guard Deron Williams to salvage what has been a free-agency nightmare. After getting jilted by DeAndre Jordan at the eleventh hour, the Mavs get in Williams a player who was considered one of the best guards in basketball just a few years ago – and they’ll get him at a bargain price ($10 million over the next two seasons).
But looking back, what exactly happened to Williams? Where did the five-time All-Star ultimately lose his way a bit?
“It’s funny,” former Nets assistant general manager Bobby Marks said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “When we got Deron in the trade in 2010, he was on the level of a Chris Paul and stuff like that. The good years that he had in New Jersey/Brooklyn were really the two years when we were playing in Newark and we kind of had less talent around him. We got his contract in the summer of 2012, we made a lot of trades and built a team around him. (But after) a combination of injuries and (poor) on-court production – he struggled a bit. He did have some good moments in Brooklyn and stuff, but as you guys know, when you’re paying someone $20 million a year and you’re considered a franchise or max player, that comes with a level of expectation. New York is not built for everyone. So I don’t know if that has a play in it. The move to Brooklyn, the expectation level, the Boston trade last year – but I think he’ll do well in Dallas. He’ll make a lot less, he’ll be a bargain, probably, and he goes back home.”
The Mavs, of course, were left scrambling after Jordan bailed on them at the last minute. Even worse, Jordan didn’t give Mark Cuban the courtesy of a phone call – or even a text message – to inform him of his decision.
Did Jordan owe Cuban an apology, or was this just business?
“It was a fascinating story to watch from afar just because none of us really had a horse in the race here,” Marks said. “I do believe he owed him an apology, just because of how it played out. All he really needed to do that night when he committed to the Clippers was just pick up the phone and just let him know and I think the story would have been over. I get how free agency goes, but this was out of the norm in this situation. I think if DeAndre would have just picked up the phone that night, we probably wouldn’t be talking about it right now. But it was a fascinating story because we hadn’t really seen something like that in a long time.”
Do you know what else we haven’t seen in a long time? The Knicks as legitimate contenders. What’s the deal in New York? Why are the Knicks having such a hard time attracting free agents?
“A lot of these guys want to go to winning teams right now to compete for a championship,” Marks said. “I do like what he did with the draft. I’ve been a big Porzingis guy and (I like) Jerian Grant. I’ve said all along: There was no foundation, so the two rookies are your foundation, and what you did in free agency is kind of your first floor. But you still got to add a second floor and a roof and throw all the windows on, so there’s still a lot to (do there). I think they’ll be significant better than they were last year, but it’s still going to be hard to draw free agents.”
Which, in many ways, is on Carmelo Anthony.
“I don’t know why a free agent wouldn’t want to come to New York to play there,” Marks said. “(Anthony) has to be as big a recruiter as Phil Jackson. He needs to be putting stuff in these guys’ ears – how good the organization is, how good is playing in New York, how good the fans are – and I just don’t know if he’s done that so far. . . . They’re kind of back to square one. Not back to the real lean years, but it’s going to take awhile (for them to be contenders). It really is.”