Breaking: Deron's Press-Conference Tea Leaves

We've seen Deron touring the new Nets facility, laying claim to a locker, going to Russia, repping the Nets at the combine, and so on. All of that had just about convinced me he's a tough sell and it's probably a pipedream to think he'll be wearing a Mavs uni this fall. But then came his meeting with the Nets media today. And, you know, maybe Dallas has more of a shot than I thought.



Speaking to the reporters who were in town for the draft combine in NJ, Deron Williams on Tuesday stepped up to address all the rumors about everything he's done since the Nets season ended, and about his future. The following notes come from one of the Nets' local beat writers, Colin Stephenson of the NJ Star-Ledger.

* He went to Russia, he said, not to meet with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov but because he had never been to Russia ... and his former teammate in Utah, Andrei Kirilenko, has been bugging him for the last six years to visit Russia. And since he happened to be in Turkey watching the EuroLeague Final Four, and Russia is close to Turkey, he decided to finally make the trip.

* About why he is working out at the Nets' facility, Williams said he still lives in New York, because he has sold his home in Southern California, and has no furniture in the home in Utah which he is currently trying to sell, and does not have a home in Dallas, or anywhere else. Also, his children are in school until the end of June, so he is living in New York now until at least then.

* He said he is wearing Nets gear to work out in because, well, he is still under contract to the Nets, at least until June 30, when he will opt out of the final year of that contract to become a free agent.

* He said his younger brother (who goes to school in The Colony) is not planning on attending prep school in New Jersey this fall, as has been reported.

* He said he intends to come to Dallas on Thursday, because his mother and brother and uncles and other family live there, and he will hold a birthday party for his son this weekend there.

* He did say he intends to make his decision -- and make it public -- as soon as possible. "July 1 hopefully,'' he said. "Hopefully I'll know something.''

Since he can't have contact with any teams until July 1, Williams was asked how he'll be able to make a decision that quickly. "I think I'll have a good idea,'' he said. "My agent (Jeff Schwartz), he's done this before. So we're going to talk, actually today about some scenarios.''

He said "probably'' he'll be taking phone calls from teams at 12:01 a.m. July 1, the soonest teams can contact him. "I'm sure when it comes down to the time, it'll only be between a couple teams,'' he said.

Those final notes make my radar go up, because of his insistence that he has to wait until July 1 to decide. What will happen on July 1 that can't happen earlier? That's when another team (in particular, Dallas) can actually offer him money to play elsewhere, and that's also the earliest day he can say, "I plan to sign with Dallas" without creating massive tampering questions.

If he knew he was returning to the Nets, he could say that now. He knows the Nets' offer already, and he wouldn't have to wait until July 1 for a "staying with the Nets" announcement.

In addition, his thought that "it'll only be between a couple teams" leaves the clear implication that there are no darkhorses to be considered.

Deron's wide-angle quote:

"I want to reiterate: I don't know what I'm doing next year, still,'' Williams said. "Nobody does, but me. Not even my mom, my brother, my uncle, my cousin – I haven't talked to anybody about where I'm going this year.''
Smile
As Premium readers know, I'm one of those "bird-in-the-hand" type guys. If it had been me rather than Mark Cuban, I would have done more to prevent Chandler from walking for merely the "pipedream'' chance to sign Deron Williams or Dwight Howard. While we've explored the cap possibilities for the 3D Bluepring, my sense is that landing either of those two stars was such an extreme longshot that the Mavs better have some great alternatives ready as well.

And maybe they do. Or maybe the Dallas Mavericks were able to read Deron's tea leaves long ago, as we can read them now -- with admittedly-Mavs-colored glasses -- and note that while nothing is for certain until it happens, and while we're merely digging between the lines here. ... I sure like what these tea leaves from back east seem to be suggesting.


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