Whatever D-Will wants, he gets

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:52 PM ET

LONDON, England — It’s all or nothing for the New Jersey Nets with Deron Williams.

No, they don’t have a commitment from the man yet beyond next season. They could wind up with nothing, or next to nothing, just as the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers did when Chris Bosh and LeBron James walked.

But the Nets aren’t thinking that way.

In fact, general manager Billy King, the guy who stunned the basketball world by landing Williams in a deal with the Utah Jazz for Derrick Favours, Devin Harris and two first-round picks, is still shaking his head over capitalizing on such an opportunity to even get him to New Jersey.

“Every time you look at him you realize, wow, there’s Deron Williams,” King said following Thursday’s Nets practice at the O2 Arena. “I just saw him in the all-star game and now he’s playing for us.”

But King is way too savvy not to realize anything short of Williams signing an extension with the Nets will not just kill that feel-good buzz he has these days but put the Nets franchise back years in the process.

So as much as he’s smiling every time he sees Williams on the court, he’s also working his tail off to make it impossible for Williams to say no to an extension.

Williams has met with team owner Mikhail Prokhorov once already while the team was still on North American soil and plans to sit down with him a second time while the team is in London.

Even from that one meeting, Williams said he is feeling better about his new address, or at least better than he felt when he learned he was being traded while watching an ESPN broadcast.

“I’m a lot more comfortable,” Williams said. “It’s only going to continue to grow. I haven’t figured everything out yet and don’t know all the plans yet until we sit down and talk about them some more.”

That may not be the definitive answer the Nets are hoping for, but it at least is moving in the proper direction from a Nets’ standpoint.

Really the blitz is just starting. From Prokhorov to King to coach Avery Johnson, the Nets are doing anything and everything to convince Williams Jersey is the place to be.

They’ve tweaked the playbook to fit more with what Williams does to be successful and make those around him more successful.

They are even offering him input into the new facility they are moving into in Brooklyn for the 2012 season.

Williams is piece one in the rebuilding of the New Jersey Nets. If they can lock him up, the feeling is the rest of the pieces will fall into place.

“That’s how everyone does it,” King said. “Look at Miami. They did it with Dwyane Wade and then got Shaq and now they have the other guys (James and Bosh). Even Boston with Paul Pierce did it that way, Philly did it with Allen Iverson and Toronto did it with Vince Carter.

“I think that’s what you’re doing. You’re starting with a piece and then you add to it. That piece attracts other pieces and it’s really always been that way.”

Piece two, or 1-A, if everything goes according to plan would be someone like Orlando Magic centre Dwight Howard who could be available in the summer of 2012.

Williams said yesterday he’s more than willing to recruit, whether it’s Howard or anyone else who could help the Nets. He said he played that role in Utah as well although admittedly not with the success he would have preferred. Utah just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Whether Jersey will be, remains to be seen.

There’s no question though that right now for the Nets, Williams is all that matters.

Basically whatever Deron wants right now, Deron gets — all in hopes of having him re-up with the Nets at or before the conclusion of next season.

London is a nice reprieve from the day-to-day slogging of an 82-game season, but maybe, just maybe the Nets will look back on London as the place they convinced D-Will he can be happy long term in New Jersey.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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