July 4, 2012

Williams was 'torn' and 'very close' to choosing Mavs, Kidd says

Jason Kidd says the Nets' roster moves swayed Deron Williams to Brooklyn.

DALLAS -- No player spent more time with Deron Williams in the days leading up to his historic free-agent decision than Jason Kidd.

In the past week-and-a-half, Williams and Kidd played 18 holes of golf on four days.

So Kidd knows how difficult it was for Williams on Tuesday when he turned down his hometown Dallas Mavericks and instead agreed to a five-year, $98 million free-agent contract with the Brooklyn Nets.

"I think it came very close to him going to Dallas," Kidd said Wednesday. "It was a hard decision for him to make, and that's what took so long for him to make that decision.

"You get torn. This was not an easy decision for him because he likes both places, so it wasn't a clear-cut winner until he decided to make the decision."

Kidd figures the 11th-hour moves the Nets negotiated in re-signing Gerald Wallace and trading for Joe Johnson likely raised Williams' eyebrows and tipped the scales in Brooklyn's favor. Meanwhile, the Mavs essentially stood on the sidelines and made nary a move.

"I think it's safe to say that he felt comfortable with the roster that was being put together in Brooklyn," Kidd said. "They made moves to show Deron that they were going to try to be competitive and I think that's what swayed him to stay in Brooklyn."

The Mavs also appear to have lost popular guard Jason Terry, who agreed to a three-year contract with the Boston Celtics for about $15 million on Tuesday.

Although Terry will give the Mavs a chance to match the Celtics' offer, they likely won't because it'll eat up precious salary cap space that they might be saving for next summer.

"I think it's great," Kidd said of Terry's contract. "Business sometimes gets in the way of guys staying in cities for a long time or with a team for a long time.

"For him to get that deal with Boston, I have to say congratulations. He kind of wanted to stay in Dallas, but he took a deal that puts him on a team that's going to be competitive, and he'll make some money."

Kidd, a free agent who will turn 40 in March, also is hoping for a big payday.

The 18-year veteran said his agent, Jeff Schwartz, is talking with Mavs management about returning to Dallas.

Kidd, who is seeking a backup role on a championship-caliber team, hopes to have a deal within a week.

"I would love to come back to Dallas," said Kidd, who reportedly also is talking to the New York Knicks. "We're talking, so we'll see what happens.

"Jeff is traveling to Phoenix, so I'm just waiting to hear what he and [Mavs owner Mark] Cuban have been talking about."

The Mavericks had discussed obtaining point guard Steve Nash. But the Phoenix Suns shipped him to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday in a sign-and-trade deal.

Jeremy Lin, Goran Dragic or Brandon Roy are the other proint guards the Mavs are pursuing, although Lin is a restricted free agent.

"He's a very good player," Kidd said of Lin. "I don't mind backing up very good point guards. But I'm not saying I'll back up anybody else."

Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones are the only remaining players under contract from the 2011 championship team. And Beaubois and Jones didn't even play in the NBA Finals, which ended less than 13 months ago.

Kidd, though, believes Cuban and general manager Donnie Nelson will eventually shape the Mavs back into a title-contending team.

"It's business, and Cuban is going to do whatever he can to be competitive," Kidd said. "I don't know what more he could have done before [the Williams deal was finalized], but they have a pretty good player in Dirk.

"Cuban has a plan -- him and Donnie -- and they're following it and they're trying to execute it. Cuban and Donnie will get the right pieces and they'll get better and they'll be fine, and in no time they'll be right back there."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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