Nets coach Avery Johnson was direct in his assessment of the Mavs' retooling following their championship a little more than a year ago, as Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. The former Mavs coach and player said simply, "It had to happen." The Mavs' retooling would have taken on quite a different look had Deron Williams signed with Dallas instead of returning to the Nets, but Johnson is glad to have kept his star point guard, as his more expansive comments about the Nets indicate. Johnson was in Fort Worth, Texas, today to deliver a motivational speech to area high schoolers, and when not at the podium, he spoke about the Williams re-signing and the other flashy moves the Nets have made in advance of their Brooklyn debut.
On his feelings before Williams spurned the Mavs and re-upped with the Nets:
“We were never over-confident. (GM) Billy King and I, we felt we were going to be able to re-sign Deron. We felt it was 80 or 90 percent. But it was that 10 percent that you worry about. That was the whole key. I’m glad that’s all behind us.’’
About the importance of the Williams signing:
“Deron was a big key to the whole puzzle. To be able to acquire some other talent through free agency or trades or re-signing some of our own guys, it’s pretty exciting for us. We’re not there yet. We’re not a championship team. We got a lot of work to do. But at the same time, we have a much better talent pool than we’ve had the last two years."
On the move from New Jersey to Brooklyn:
“We’ve been planning this for two years. We’ve always had our eyes on Brooklyn. We pretty much played the last two years all road games because we didn’t have any type of home court advantage because we were in a temporary building. Now to be at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn with sellouts every night, and our roster has been significantly upgraded, it’s exciting.’’
About the new roster and his plans for it:
“We’re much more versatile than we’ve ever been. Right now, we look good on paper. Now we got to take it from looking good on paper and apply the work to go (forward).’’