Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was mostly mum about Deron Williams, who re-signed with the Nets rather than choosing his hometown Mavericks this summer, before the teams played Wednesday. But not everyone stayed quiet. Associated Press:
Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said he didn’t know if Williams was a little extra motivated against the team he grew up rooting for in his time at The Colony and the one he turned down so he could move to Brooklyn from New Jersey with the Nets.
“But I’m sure he understands that you’re not going to expect intelligent statements from Mark, anyhow,” Carlesimo said.
Maybe the guy coaching a team that owes Williams more than $81 million the next four years – the NBA’s 17th-worst contract, according to Bill Simmons – shouldn’t cast stones at the intelligence of others. Then again, Cuban probably started this spat. Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:
A New York reporter diplomatically pointed out that the Nets are well over the salary cap, with a very good team but one that probably isn’t good enough to win a championship. The reporter asked if Cuban considers that a difficult position to be in.
“Yes,” Cuban said with a smile. “That’s the position we didn’t want to be in.
“Not talking about any one player, but that’s why we were concerned in our approach because if you sign a max-out guy, well, you get to a point where you’re above that (luxury) tax (line) plus $4 million, you’re limited in sign and trades. You’re limited in your ability to use the exception. There’s all kinds of limitations.
Cuban is right. The Nets, 40-28 and holding the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, have little financial flexibility, and they have few players likely to improve dramatically. They have several more players likely to decline in the coming years, especially Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace.
But the Nets made their move. The 32-36 Mavericks are just treading water, essentially wasting a season outside the playoffs and outside the top of the lottery. They’ll have cap room to upgrade their roster this summer, but until they use their flexibility to put together a roster better than the Nets, what good is it?