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Nets' Billy King mulls several roster decisions

Deron Williams, center, holds up his jersey as

Deron Williams, center, holds up his jersey as he poses with Nets coach Avery Johnson, left, and general manager Billy King, right, at a news conference. (Feb. 24, 2011) Credit: AP

Before Avery Johnson hopped on his flight home the other day, following the pomp and circumstance of the Nets' logo unveiling in Brooklyn, he had a little message for Billy King.

"He said, 'All right -- now it's all up to you,' " King, the Nets' general manager, said Tuesday.

Pressure? What pressure?

The Nets are about to embark on their most important offseason in years and King's main task is to bring a winner to Brooklyn when they move into Barclays Center this fall. With tons of cap space and the possibility that only four of their current 15 players could be under contract once free agency begins July 1, King has an arduous road ahead of him.

Just don't tell him he's immersed in pressure, though.

"That's my job," King said. "People say, 'Is there pressure because [owner] Mikhail [Prokhorov] said we're going to win a championship in five years?' No. That's a great goal. I'd rather have an owner saying that than, 'Don't lose me money.' . . . It's my job to try to help get the pieces, and help Avery and try to do it for him."

The biggest piece, of course, is Deron Williams. The point guard said last week he wants to make a decision before the Olympics start in July, and King seems confident they can re-sign him.

"I feel pretty good," King said. "I think I haven't wavered all year in my thought process with this. I think he and I understand what I've got to do and where we've got to get to. The goal is to win."

Asked if the franchise needs Williams to survive the first year in Brooklyn, King said: "Well, it makes it easier. Anytime you have a guy that I consider to be the best point guard in the league, it makes my job a lot easier, it makes Avery's job a lot easier. It makes everybody else's job easier, so yes."

King has four players under contract for next season: MarShon Brooks, Jordan Williams, Johan Petro and Anthony Morrow.

Brook Lopez is a restricted free agent. Kris Humphries is unrestricted and Gerald Wallace has a player option. King believes that Wallace, who isn't expected to exercise his $9.5-million player option by the June 13 deadline, deserves a long-term deal and it sounds like both sides are amicable to making that happen. King considers Wallace one of the Nets' building blocks, particularly since they gave up a first-round pick to acquire him at the trade deadline once Dwight Howard waived his early termination option and said he wanted to stay in Orlando.

"It's been a two-year up-and-down [situation] because we were in pursuit of another player [Howard]," King said. "The pain and frustration that we may have gone through, it's really what we put ourselves through to get to this point."

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