Wallace felt signing early was good for Williams
Gerald Wallace is convinced that re-signing with the Brooklyn
Nets early in free agency helped convince Deron Williams to return
to the franchise and play in its new home.
Speaking on a conference call on Monday, more than two weeks
after agreeing to a four-year, $40 million contract, Wallace, a
small forward, was confident the Nets have made the moves necessary
to challenge in the Eastern Conference.
In addition to re-signing Wallace, Williams and center Brook
Lopez, the Nets acquired six-time All-Star shooting guard Joe
Johnson in a multi-player deal with the Atlanta Hawks.
The Nets also confirmed on Monday that they signed veteran
swingman Jerry Stackhouse to a one-year, $1.4 million deal, and
forward Mirza Teletovic to a three-year, $9.8 million contract.
”I’m excited to be back with Brooklyn, so we can get things
turned around, get the franchise headed in the right direction,”
Wallace said, ”and hopefully push for a championship.”
Wallace said he wanted to get his contract done quickly, because
he was holding a youth basketball camp in Alabama. However, he also
felt he had a good idea that Williams would to return to the Nets
rather than sign with Dallas. The two spoke a couple of days before
free agency opened.
”I was confident. I understood,” Wallace said. ”I figured
we’d get D-Will back. He really wanted to come back and I know that
he focused on me signing. And I knew once I signed, that worked in
our favor getting him back. And then I think with getting Joe
Johnson in a trade, I think that sold him on the idea.
”My thing was to sign, and give him that confidence that I’d be
there with him.”
Wallace, who was acquired from Portland before the trade
deadline last season, wanted to stay with the Nets all along.
”But the main focus was having Deron,” he said. ”I’m going
into my 12th year in the league, and I didn’t want to be in a stage
where we’re in a rebuilding process, starting all over with young
guys. The main thing was having some core guys there and being able
to compete now.”
Wallace is happy with the many moves made by Brooklyn general
manager Billy King.
`I think we’ve made a statement team-wise about the direction we
want to head in,” Wallace said. ”I think we’ve got some great
pieces. I understand that Billy and those guys are still doing some
hard work to make some things happen for us, and I think right now,
we’ve had a great start, and I think we can get better as a
”If not, I feel confident with the team that we have now going
into training camp. And, hopefully, (if) everybody stays healthy,
we can make a push for the postseason.”
The Nets have missed the playoffs the past five seasons, the
last two as temporary tenants at the Prudential Center in Newark
while the move to Brooklyn was finalized.
”I feel like we put ourselves pretty much up there in the top
five,” Wallace said of the Nets’ chances in the Eastern
Conference. ”We haven’t proven anything; the teams that are ahead
of us, are the teams that have proven themselves, that have already
been in the postseason. Just by us putting it on paper, saying we
have these guys, they’ve been in the league, that doesn’t mean
anything. We still have to go out and prove ourselves.”
Stackhouse appeared in 30 games with the Hawks last season,
averaging 3.6 points and 9.1 minutes. The 17-year NBA veteran did
not appear in any of Atlanta’s six playoff games. Selected third
overall by Philadelphia in 1995, the North Carolina product has
career averages of 17.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in
Teletovic spent last season with Caja Laboral Vitoria of the
Spanish ACB League. He averaged 16.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in
On Wednesday, the Nets will hold another press conference, this
one for Lopez, who re-signed last week.