Nets coach Johnson sees Cuban as a ‘threat’

While Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard may be garnering most of the spotlight as the NBA trade deadline nears, New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams and his future with the Nets is still churning.

D-Will is an all-star guard and would like to take his talents to a championship contender, something the Nets are not. That is why many speculate Williams might end up with the NBA defending champions Dallas Mavericks and make his way back home to Texas. And at the center of the Mavs’ hopes to bring in Williams is owner Mark Cuban.

Enter Nets head coach Avery Johnson.

Johnson, who coached in Dallas, knows how Cuban operates and because of this, he feels Cuban is public enemy number one when it comes to snagging Williams from New Jersey.

“For me personally, working for Mark Cuban, he’s a threat,” said Johnson, a former Mavs coach. “I know the guy. So I think because of the success he’s had and I know he got criticized a lot for having all those years when he didn’t win a championship.

“But he’s had some really great success here that rivals any situation, so that’s a threat. And for us, we don’t make any assumptions until we get Deron signed on the dotted line.”

Cuban may be a threat to the Nets and their dreams of building a championship team once they move to Brooklyn but let’s face it, a shot to play with Dirk Nowitzki, and possibly Dwight Howard, is too alluring for Williams.

Furthermore, a 10-25 record in the Eastern Conference, and a failed attempt to bring Howard to New Jersey earlier this season, doesn’t exactly instill confidence in Williams as far as the immediate future for New Jersey. Dallas, on the other hand, will have cap room next summer to bring in top-tier free agents (i.e. Howard) to add alongside Nowitzki, and Jason Kidd. If all this falls into place for Dallas, Williams could join a ready made title contender as opposed to a rebuilding project in Brooklyn.

Moreover, seeing his contemporaries in Miami forming a “big 3″ and how that trio automatically became perennial title contenders might just spur Williams to looking hard at the Mavs as the next “big 3″ in the NBA.

Of course there is this nugget that Williams told the Dallas media he would love to play for Dallas.

Williams privately told members of the Mavs last June during their Finals celebration that he would love to go back home and be a part of team with Dirk Nowitzki. But he said Friday he wants to continue to be a Net. So until further notice, the Nets think they still have a good shot to move into Brooklyn with Williams and Howard.

Though losing Williams will prove disastrous for the Nets and their long-term plans of becoming a title contender, but many things will have to fall into place first — namely Howard and his decision to stay in Orlando or land in elsewhere including Dallas.