Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.
Deron: Cuban's absence helped spur decision to stay
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Deron Williams had a few questions for Mark Cuban during free agency, ones that only the Mavericks' owner could truly answer.
But Cuban was in Los Angeles shooting his ABC show "Shark Tank," leaving it up to Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, president of basketball operations of Donnie Nelson and consultant Michael Finley.
Asked after practice Monday at the PNY Center if Cuban's absence affected his decision, Williams didn't blink.
"Of course," the All-Star point guard said.
That's when Williams flashed back to a similar situation he faced while he was being recruited by colleges during his senior year at The Colony High School in his native Dallas.
"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 Gary Williams wouldn’t be there. So, I told them it’s OK. I’d rather not go. So, that was the end of that."
Same thing basically goes for the way things went down with the Mavs this summer as he wavered between staying with the Nets or heading to play for his hometown team.
"I think he would have been able to answer a lot of questions that me and my agent didn’t get answered that day, pertaining to the future," Williams said. "I think if he was there, he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit better. Maybe it would have helped me."
What were those specific questions?
"More toward the direction of the future of the team -- other than Dirk [Nowitzki] -- players they were thinking about," Williams said. "Everything was just about their track record. I can honor that, because they do have a good track record. But it’s not enough for me just to switch organizations, especially when Billy [King] was updating me daily."
After losing out of Williams, Cuban went into spin doctor mode, trying to make people believe he really thinks the Mavs are better off without Williams since he would have eaten up a hefty portion of their salary cap, along with Nowitzki.
"Maybe, you know because I always think I can close a sale," Cuban told a Dallas radio station in August. "But in hindsight, I don't know if he would have been happy. I think we're in better position now than we would have been if we had gotten him."
Williams said he didn't hear Cuban's words and didn't care anyway.
"That’s Mark. He does that with a lot of people," Williams said. "He did that [with] J-Kidd now [that he's with the Knicks]. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m not concerning myself with him anymore. I’m a Brooklyn Net, I’m not a Dallas Maverick. So, I’m worried about what’s going on here with our team and what they are doing. I can’t worry about what’s being said."