Report: Mavericks fear Deron Williams leaning toward Nets

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Mark Cuban and the Mavericks gambled — with the new luxury tax provisions looming they knew they needed to strip down their salary in the next couple years or pay a steep price. They had a window last year to do that, so unlike what most owners would have done, Cuband didn’t get the band back together to chase another ring.

But part of the plan was always to lure Deron Williams back home to pair with Dirk Nowitzki and quickly return the Dallas to the league’s elite.

Dallas may lose its bet. Mavericks officials are getting the feeling D-Will is staying in Brooklyn, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.com.

Four rival executives and a fifth person familiar with Williams’ thinking told CBSSports.com Tuesday that the Mavericks are becoming increasingly worried that the All-Star point guard will stay with the Nets when the free-agent floodgates open Sunday.

While optimists in the Mavs’ camp are holding out hope that they still have a “50-50” chance of landing Williams, who grew up in Dallas, executives working the phones Tuesday have detected a real concern from the Mavs that Williams will opt to join the Nets in Brooklyn next season.

There has been a lot of mixed buzz and reports on what Williams is thinking in recent weeks. As Berger himself noted, someone in the sneaker industry told him Williams preferred to be in Dallas. My guess — he hasn’t made a decision yet.

Dallas is going to have to sway him that money isn’t everything — Brooklyn has D-Will’s Bird rights and can offer one more year and larger raises than Dallas, which means about $26 million more guaranteed. That’s a lot of money. A whole lot. It matters more than birthday signs.

The only thing we know for sure is that Williams wants to make a quick decision — he wants everything wrapped up before he starts Team USA Olympic training camp in Las Vegas July 6.