Deron Williams, acquired by the New Jersey Nets from the Utah Jazz Wednesday in a surprising blockbuster trade, said Thursday he won't commit to signing a new deal with the Nets once his contract runs out after the 2012 season.
"I can't really give any assurances, or say that I'll be here — I don't know what the future holds, I look forward to the possibility of it, it's definitely a strong possibility. It all depends on how the next year goes — CBA, the type of moves we make and the people we bring into this organization."
Williams is a 26-year-old star, and he will have options when it comes to where to play once his contract is up after next season. It would make no sense for him to commit long-term to the Nets, a team that won just 12 games a year ago and is currently one of the worst in the league with a 17-40 record, until he sees if the franchise can deliver on promises it has made him to seek top-tier talent to put around him.
"I told him what we have, $19 million in cap space this summer, we still have picks. … I said, ‘We’re going to build something special and you’re going to help lead us this way.’ And he’s excited about it," said Nets General Manager Billy King.
The Nets and Jazz kept this deal incredibly quiet, so quiet in fact that Williams had no idea he was on the market and found out from ESPN's SportsCenter that he had been traded. He denied initial reports that he was not happy about the trade, simply saying the trade was a "shock."
"At first it was a little bit of shock, but after talking to (GM) Billy King, talking to coach (Avery) Johnson, and just seeing the direction that they want to go in and the vision for their organization , it just really got me excited about the possibilities of competing for a championship in the next couple of years.
"They're very ambitious in going after a lot of guys, I'm going to help with that as well."
The deal gives the Nets a chance to be relevant again on the NBA landscape, something they have not been since the days of Jason Kidd and Keith Van Horn. They have the rest of this season and next to capitalize. Let's see if they can.