Billy King's greatest move was not letting Deron Williams out of his sight
Generally speaking, a general manager is graded on how well the players he acquires manage to play together. That ought to be the case for Brooklyn Nets G.M. Billy King as well.
But Deron Williams talked on Monday about exactly how he came to choose the Brooklyn Nets over his hometown Dallas Mavericks, and in the process revealed that King deserves credit for more than simply knowing that Williams would be an important addition to the team. King gave Williams constant attention; Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, according to Williams, declined to attend Williams' meeting with the Mavericks.
And Williams made it clear on Monday: the absence mattered.
"I mean, I think he would have been able to answer some of the questions," Williams told reporters after practice on Monday. "A lot of the questions that my agent and I had for him really didn’t get answered that day, pertaining to the future. I think, if he was there, he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit better, [and] maybe would have helped me.”
By contrast, Williams revealed that King provided him with daily updates about what the Nets were planning in free agency. King described his approach in similar terms when he met with the media last month, keeping the acquisition of Joe Johnson from the media until he had a chance to run it by Williams and get his approval.
As King acknowledged about the successful offseason that followed, "The key part was getting that piece. And that was Deron."
But Williams' description of Cuban's absence as a difference-maker underscores how real the possibility was of him leaving.
The current Nets roster, Williams aside, would have been impossible to put together, with veterans like Reggie Evans, C.J. Watson and Josh Childress unlikely to have come for the chance simply to play alongside Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez and whatever point guard they managed to sign with money available to them under the salary cap.
Ultimately, it doesn't really matter. Williams is a Net; King has his team, and the credit he deserves.