Throughout this offseason, we will do our best to keep up with trades and free-agent signings that could have a potential effect on the Thunder.
Today, it’s point guard Deron Williams choosing to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets:
What it means to the Nets: It means people might actually show up to check out the Nets next season rather than simply gawking at their new arena, the $1 billion Barclays Center on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. It also could mean Williams is confident he will soon have a new teammate in disgruntled Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard via a trade.
Williams already has a revamped roster in the Nets acquiring former Atlanta shooting guard Joe Johnson, re-signing forward Gerald Wallace and acquiring power forward Reggie Evans in a sign-and-trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nets will now do what they can to re-sign center Brooks Lopez to either retain him or work him in a deal for Howard. No new signings or trades can be finalized until July 11, after the league’s moratorium ends.
What it means to the Thunder: Dallas could now be a serious threat to steal James Harden and/or Serge Ibaka after next season. Harden and Ibaka are signed through 2012-13 and will become restricted free agents if an extension agreement with the Thunder is not reached by Oct. 31, after which the Thunder will have the right to match any offer.
The Mavericks made a hard push to obtain hometown product Williams, but could only offer a four-year deal worth $75 million compared to the Nets’ five-year deal for $98 million. The Mavs also are interested in luring point guard Steve Nash back to Dallas, but Toronto and New York appear to be the clear leaders in that courtship. With the money he was willing to offer Williams, Mavs owner Mark Cuban could now lure Harden and/or Ibaka. After beating the Thunder in the 2011 Western Conference Finals in Dallas, Cuban made a B-line to Harden on the court after Game 5 to offer a hug and shower him with praises. Was Cuban schmoozing a potential future client? Damn straight he was. Can you blame him?
– John Rohde