GM King sees bright future for Nets, Williams

New Jersey Nets general manager Billy King believes his team

will be able to sign All-Star point guard Deron Williams to a

long-term extension once the NBA and its players reach a new

collective bargaining agreement.

Last week, in his first appearance with the media after his

wrist surgery, Williams expressed interest in staying with the Nets

and being part of the franchise as it moves to Brooklyn for the

2012-13 season.

Williams, acquired in a trade with Utah during the season, has

one more year on his contract and an option for another at $17.7

million, but he would like a long-term maximum deal.

”My thoughts haven’t changed from the minute we traded for him

(in February),” King said Wednesday, when he reviewed the Nets’

24-58 season. ”The more we talk and the more I get to know him, I

can sense that he knows the goal of this franchise. We’ve had some

great conversations and I can tell we’re on the same page moving


”It’s nice to hear that he wants to stay here and that’s good

to know. What others might have said doesn’t matter. You should

take what he said and what I said as being the real deal.”

King announced that center Brook Lopez, who has never missed a

game in his three-year NBA career, will undergo surgery next week

for a calcium deposit in his right arm.

King would not address the uncertainty of the league without a

new CBA, but he believes there should be no deterrent to improving

the team in the offseason.

”We are in good shape,” King said. ”We have some cap space

with the existing agreement. We have draft picks (the Nets own the

Lakers’ pick in the first round and their own pick in the second

round), so a lot of good things can happen. But we have to get a

CBA before any of it can be decided.”

King acknowledges his job becomes more difficult without a CBA

in place and a lockout looming at the end of the season.

”It does make it hard, because you don’t know how much money

you can spend, but it doesn’t make it harder, because you know the

guys you like and want to pursue,” King said. ”You just don’t

know how you can pay for those players, cap-wise. We can target

guys we want, but you really don’t know about cap space.”

King doubted he could swing a trade before the draft in late

June. He wasn’t sure it was even wise to try doing so.

”I don’t know if you want to make trades before this gets

settled, because you’re not going to make a trade to make

significant cap space if you don’t know what the cap is,” King


”We have a star (Williams) and we have other pieces we like. We

just have to build around the pieces.”

King said the Nets need to become more athletic, especially at

small forward. They will host 44 top pro prospects in a workout at

their training facility May 7-8.

He also praised the play of Lopez, said the team hopes to

re-sign free agent power forward Kris Humphries, and will consider

bringing back shooting guard Sasha Vujacic, who also expressed

interest in returning to New Jersey.

”We came a long way,” King said. ”We had a lot of guys who

finished the season with us who we didn’t think would be with us.

(Coach) Avery (Johnson) kept the guys focused and ready to come to

play every night. We had a lot of character on the team and a lot

of nights, they did the best that they could.

”We never really had a full team all year due to trades and

injuries. From where we started and what we had to go through, I’d

say I was satisfied with the season. We had a lot of positive

things happen.”