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Deron Williams and Dallas ... wudda, cudda, shudda


If things had worked out differently, Deron Williams might be wearing the black and blue of the Dallas Mavericks Friday night, being booed by Brooklyn Nets fans and facing ... Goran Dragic. Whew!

That's if the Mavericks hadn't low-balled D-Will and offered him $70 million (rather than $75 million they could have), which was $30 million less than the Nets; if Mark Cuban had decided to woo D-Will instead of spending the day taping a crucial episode of "Shark Tank;" or if Dirk Nowitzki, self-professed good friend of Williams, had flown in for the recruiting session. It was almost as if the Mavericks really didn't want Williams, just the right to call "sour grapes!" a month later.

Cuban has famously trashed Mikhail Prokhorov for out spending him and dissing Deron Williams. Most recently suggested the Lakers amnesty Kobe Bryant, reserving for himself the role of Seer of the new CBA, the only judicious man in the NBA. Meanwhile, his team is seven games under .500, has lost three straight and has virtually no chance of making the playoffs. His star player has expressed fear that Cuban's strategy is based only on "hope." Not to worry, the Mavs owner says the "Bank of Cuban" is "open for business" this summer. Dare we say Mr. Shark Tank has jumped the Shark?

Whatever. The Dallas beat writers are playing the game as a way for the Mavericks to get back at D-Will. Since they were so invested in his return home, why not? On a nostalgic note, Vince Carter will finally get to see the arena he and Jason Kidd (who also spurned Cuban) so famously promoted while with the Nets.

Speaking of the Nets, they expect the Joe Johnson to be back, but not aren't yet certain. Even if not, P.J. Carlesimo says D-Will is moving better than he has all year and has the numbers to prove it. MarShon Brooks is expected to play as well, but sat out Thursday's practice. Jerry Stackhouse is unlikely to play (personal reasons) and Toko Shengelia is in Springfield, where he, too, will play Friday night alongside Kris Joseph and Willie Reed.