NBA London 2011 -  New Jersey Nets v Toronto Raptors

Avery Johnson says only thing he can: Nets will keep Deron Williams

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Avery Johnson and the Nets organization have made their bet — they must convince Deron Williams to sign an extension with the team.

Williams can opt out in the summer of 2012. The Nets traded significant assets to Utah to bring D-Will in, they have to keep him. They have to get talent around him, they have to keep him happy.

Johnson said the Nets can do that, according to the Bergen Record. Of course, he admits that’s the only thing he can say.

“I have no doubt and I’m really, really confident that we’ll be able to re-sign him,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said after practice Wednesday…

“What am I supposed to say, I’m leery?” Johnson said. “All signs that I’ve seen and heard are that as we move forward, he’ll be in a Nets’ uniform.

“Down the road if that changes, I’m not going to be the first person in America or professional sports that [has] had no doubt and it didn’t work.”

Johnson can lay a foundation, build a relationship now. The real work comes during free agency and trade windows in the future (whenever those are after the lockout). D-Will is very competitive. He wants to win. If the Nets prove he can do that in Brooklyn, they will get his signature. And then Johnson’s confidence can seem prophetic.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Clippers ready to win West?

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With our PBT Extra videos, we are previewing the entire NBA by using bold predictions, starting in the Pacific Division (we already did the Warriors).

Some of those predictions come from fans on Twitter where I had sent out a request, including the bold prediction for the Clippers.

It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.

The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).

Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.

Stephen Curry gives high five while his shot is in air (video)

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Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.

His swagger certainly remains intact.