June 12, 2012

Dallas Mavericks hope to lure Deron Williams back home

Williams becomes the NBA's hottest free agent July 1, and his outgoing agent and former high school coach Tommy Thomas "would love to see him" sign with the Mavs.

Unfortunately for the Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams won't be renegotiating his contract with his longtime agent, Tommy Thomas.

Otherwise, Williams could be wearing a Mavericks uniform.

Thomas was Williams' high school coach at The Colony from 1999-02, has watched Williams mature into being one of the game's best players and has been a major influence in his life for many years. Thomas also was Williams' agent, via Houston-based McClaren Sports, when he became the third overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz.

Williams becomes the NBA's hottest free agent July 1, and Thomas said "I would love to see him" sign with the Mavericks. However, Thomas' contract with Williams ends June 30, and Williams' new agent, Jeff Schwartz, will be handling negotiations with whichever team Williams decides to play.

"We want him to make the best decision for him and his family, wherever that is and wherever God leads him," Thomas said Tuesday. "I told him the other day, 'Hey, I let God do all the heavy lifting in my life, so you've just got to pray about it and then see what path God has for you and then be committed to wherever He takes you.'

"That's the advice I gave him a couple of Saturdays ago."

Asked if he advised Williams not to go on live TV -- a la LeBron James -- to announce the decision about his basketball future, Thomas said: "That's his new guy's deal now. I'm out of that part. All I do is pray for him and wish him well."

The Mavericks are hopeful that Williams, an All-Star the past three seasons, will return home and sign a long-term contract with them. So, too, is Thomas.

"He'll look good in any uniform as long as you're the guy sitting on that bench trying to coach him," Thomas said. "He makes you look an awful lot smarter.

"I just saw him the other day and talked to him, and he's got a lot to think about. Hopefully, he'll weigh it all out and make the right one for him and his family."

Thomas posted an impressive 90-8 record during the three years Williams played for him at The Colony. He knows a chance to win an NBA title likely will weigh heavily in Williams' decision as much as the chance to become financially secure.

"Deron's always been about winning, so I'm sure that's first and foremost in his mind," Thomas said. "He's already had a great career and made great money.

"Again, the money is important, obviously, to take care of his family. But he's also a competitive guy."

That competitiveness might lead Williams to sign with the Mavericks, who captured their first NBA title a year ago Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Thomas admits whoever winds up winning the Deron Williams Sweepstakes will have an outstanding player with a high basketball IQ.

"He's earned everything that he's gotten," Thomas said. "Clearly when he was in high school, and even since when I've been around him, his work ethic and willingness to try to get better is just unparalleled.

"All the success that he's had -- he's a talented player, he's a talented athlete -- has been achieved through hard work."

Be it with the Mavericks, Nets or elsewhere, Thomas believes Williams will continue to have success.

"He's been great to me and we're wishing him the best, for sure," Thomas said. "We're certainly praying for him to let God drive that decision and just let it be the one he's supposed to make."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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