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NBA AM: Future Of Deron Williams In Brooklyn

The Nets have invested heavily in Deron Williams and in providing him a strong supporting cast. It just hasn’t worked out, though.

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Williams didn’t request a trade, but should Brooklyn evaluate the possibility?

The Brooklyn Nets’ journey over the past year can be summed up in one word: whirlwind. The team received plenty of publicity last summer when they acquired future Hall of Fame forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics. The franchise also received a substantial amount of press for the outside the box decision to hire Jason Kidd as its new head coach.

But for all the pomp and circumstance the Nets were a woeful 10-21 at the end of December and resembled a squad headed to the draft lottery, not one which entered the season with title expectations. Shortly after things turned for the better and Kidd led Brooklyn to a 34-17 (.667) record at the turn of the year. The Nets finished with 44 victories, earned a playoff berth and managed to advance to the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated by the Miami HEAT.

However, after the season ended numerous reports surfaced implying former All-Star guard Deron Williams was unhappy in Brooklyn and wouldn’t mind being traded before the start of next season. The report was later debunked by a few sources but it became clear Williams was frustrated and feeling the burden of not living up to expectations in Brooklyn.

The question now becomes what is the long term future of Williams in Brooklyn.

Remember, the Nets awarded Williams a five-year $99 million deal to serve as their franchise player. Then the team mortgaged a significant chunk of their future (lucrative draft picks) in separate deals for All-Star Joe Johnson, Garnett and Pierce in order to surround Williams with the firepower to compete for championships.

Williams is owed $63.1 million through 2016-17. His point and assist production has deteriorated in each of the past two seasons, showing the trademark signs of slippage and the Nets have posted a disappointing 8-11 record in the playoffs since his arrival.

On Thursday, Brooklyn announced Williams will be undergoing surgery on both of his ankles next week performed by team foot and ankle specialist Dr. Martin O’Malley. The guard has been plagued the past two seasons by a plethora of foot injuries and next week’s surgery will remove a bone chip from his right ankle and spurs from the left ankle.

It is clear Williams hasn’t been able to supply the expected results for the Nets as their leading man. Factor in the production declines and the ongoing problems with his ankles, the market for him in trade circles likely wouldn’t yield a boatload of attractive packages from opposing teams around the league.

Williams averaged 14.3 points and 6.1 assists on 45 percent in 65 regular season contests shooting this season.


Nuggets president Josh Kroenke doesn’t believe New York has chance at luring Brian Shaw

Under first year head coach Brian Shaw the Denver Nuggets finished the 2014 with a 36-46 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2004, a span of 10 seasons. The team was hovering at .500 at the All-Star break before finishing the season on a struggle filled 12-19 run, highlighted by a disappointing March and April stretch.

Despite the ups and downs during his year at the helm in Denver, Shaw’s name has recently surfaced in talks for the vacant New York Knicks head coaching job.

Shaw has an extensive history with newly hired Knicks president of basketball operations Phil Jackson. Shaw played under Jackson in Los Angeles and also served under him as an assistant coach.

Jackson has been rumored to want a coach who will implement portions of the Triangle Offense and a guy he can trust on the sidelines. Shaw would seemingly fit the bill on both fronts.

However, Nuggets president Josh Kroenke says he doesn’t envision a scenario where Shaw isn’t the head coach of his franchise next season.

“Brian has said publicly — and privately to us — that his desire is to be here and we feel strongly about him as our coach,’’ Kroenke told Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t foresee a scenario or circumstance where he’s going to be anywhere but with the Nuggets next season.’’

The Nuggets have an interesting summer ahead of them. The team boasts solid foundation blocks already on the roster and possesses the No. 11 overall pick in this year’s talent laden draft.  The team has $59 million in guaranteed salaries on the books for the 2015 campaign.

Lang Greene is a senior NBA writer for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 10 seasons

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