NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Even though the Nets’ star point guard could opt out of his deal before New Jersey makes their much-anticipated move, the franchise boldly unveiled a giant 80-by-60-foot billboard in Times Square this week, touting “Deron Williams & The Nets Bound For Brooklyn.”
Williams is scheduled to make $17.7 million in 2012-13, but he could walk away after next season.
That’s important for the Nets, because it would leave them without a superstar for their first year in a new arena. If the billboard is any indication, the Nets are planning for Deron to stick around and be the face of the Barclays Center, scheduled to open in 2012.
“This Times Square billboard tips off our dynamic ‘Brooklyn Bound’ campaign, which will see us doing major outdoor advertising in Brooklyn on billboards and phone kiosks,” Nets CEO Brett Yormark said in a statement. “Deron is arguably the best point guard in the NBA and he will be the face of our campaign as we prepare for the team’s exciting relocation to the Barclays Center of Brooklyn in 2012.”
Williams has yet to guarantee that he won’t opt out.
“I can’t really give any assurances or say that I’ll be here when I don’t know what the future holds,” Williams said after his introduction in February. “I look forward to the possibility of (staying), it’s definitely a strong possibility … it all depends on how the next year goes, the collective bargaining agreement and the type of moves we make, and the people we bring into this organization.”
If Williams does walk, he might run into problems with a new contract. The current collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union expires after this season, and Williams may not be able to earn as much in the 2012-13 season if maximum salaries are reduced in a new deal.
Meanwhile, the point guard did not travel with the team for Wednesday night’s loss at Detroit because of a lingering problem with his right wrist.
Williams had 21 assists and made a jumper in the final seconds to help New Jersey beat Minnesota 107-105 Tuesday night, but he said after that game he was planning to see a hand and wrist specialist. It’s not clear if he’ll play again this season.
The team lists his injury as a strained tendon.
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