Originally posted on Knicks Journal  |  Last updated 4/3/12


Many Knicks fans have criticized Carmelo Anthony for his negative tone on the court this season, and even went as far as blaming his influence for the resignation of former head coach Mike D'Antoni.

So how does that make them feel about the leniency the Nets have demonstrated with star point guard Deron Williams? Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports:

“I want to win. At the end of the day, I’m not getting any younger,” Williams said. “I’ll be 28 when I sign this next deal. I have to look for the best situation for me.”

King says another drawing card for Williams is influence on constructing the team’s roster.

“He’s been involved in the process since December,” King said. “We talked about, ‘This is Plan A and this is Plan B and C.’

“In training camp he was in my office after practice every day just sitting there. He calls himself, ‘the assistant GM.’ “

As a free agent, expect Williams to have a strong suitor from his hometown Dallas Mavericks. The reigning NBA champions will have the money this summer to offer Williams a big contract to join forces with All-Star Dirk Nowitzki. Williams says loved ones back home wouldn’t mind seeing him return.

The Nets are living on the prayer that Williams will return to the team next season with a long-term deal, but the Texas native has all but said he won't be coming back.

Williams has appeared bitter since the very day he was traded to the Nets, and his most recent comments only confirm it. Looking back, he never seemed pro-active about things or gave his current team enough of an endorsement. It's inappropriate for a player to be so strongly involved with the daily operations of his team's front office, but if their efforts were indeed such a concern to him, Williams should have done his part to try and help the Nets improve, rather than simply apply pressure, only to shrug his shoulders when it was all said and done.

Obviously this "assistant G.M." tag is unrealistic, so what in essence could Williams have done to provide an assist? Giving the Nets a ringing endorsement, making it fully clear they are the team he wants to play for may have baited future free agents enough to seriously entertain offers, if they were convinced Williams felt it was a worthy organization.

At this point, it's clear (if it had not been already) that Williams is no longer interested in donning a Nets uniform. Anthony was criticized for essentially pushing his way out of Denver, but his assertiveness actually made the Nuggets aware and allowed them to get value for him in return. Because of Williams' passive "we'll see what happens" mentality, the Nets will be left with nothing to show for his tenure.

The team actually has a few nice pieces to surround a star (or two) with. MarShon Brooks has been one of this season's brightest rookie stars, and looks to have the potential of becoming a more potent offensive player in the future. Anthony Morrow serves as an excellent role player and is one of the league's best shooters from long range. In addition to double-double machine (and media attractor) Kris Humphries, the Nets even have NBA champion veteran role players such as Jordan Farmer and DeShawn Stevenson.

If team is not convinced Brook Lopez (a skillful scorer in his own right) is the right fit for their future, he's talented enough to the point where they could flip him for another talented player instead. What's more, the Nets further tried to prove they were committed to competing by acquiring former all-star Gerald Wallace, who as professionally as possible said he is leaving the door open to re-signing with the Nets at season's end.

The Nets have some talent, but their missing puzzle piece to ultimately competing is star power. What chance of reeling that in will they have if Williams leaves? Clearly, Williams is not up to the challenge of being "the man" or a pioneer of sorts, just as Amar'e Stoudemire was for the Knicks. His arrival sparked a domino effect of positive acquisitions without a doubt. Would Anthony and/or Tyson Chandler have wanted to come to New York if STAT hadn't paved the way and started a trend? Probably not.

If the Nets making steady improvements was actually a concern of Williams', he could have done his part to help. Instead, he's taking the easy way out. Not only does this obviously hurt the Nets long-term, but might it also say something else about Williams himself? Whether or not he has the mentality and/or motivation to be a team's true leader remains to be seen.

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