Deron Williams was about to make a big decision, perhaps the most important one of his young life.
During the summer, as the All-Star point guard mulled whether to stay with the New Jersy Nets or bolt to Dallas to play for his hometown Mavericks, questions began to pile up in his head, particularly regarding Dallas' plans. But Mavs owner Mark Cuban was off in Hollywood, shooting episodes of the ABC show "Shark Tank," and left it up to coach Rick Carlisle, president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and consultant Michael Finley to do the talking.
Williams didn't blink Monday when asked if Cuban's absence for his sit-down with team brass helped influence his decision to re-sign with the Nets and shun the opportunity to go home. "Of course," he said after practice at PNY Center.
"He would have been able to answer a lot of questions that me and my agent didn't get answered that day, pertaining to the future," said Williams, the Utah Jazz's top draft pick in 2005. "I think if he was there, he would have been able to answer those questions a little bit better. Maybe it would have helped me."
Williams wanted to know all about Cuban's master plan. The Mavs told him to look at the franchise's recent success, which included an NBA title in June 2011.
"Everything was just about their track record," Williams said. "I can honor that, because they do have a good track record. But it's not enough for me just to switch organizations, especially when [Nets general manager] Billy [King] was updating me daily."
Cuban spun things around after Williams spurned him, saying the Mavs were better off without him.
Around the league
Cavaliers 91, Montepaschi Siena 85 • In Cleveland, Kyrie Irving, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, scored 10 points and Cleveland defeated the Italian club in its preseason opener. Former Jazzman C.J. Miles started at shooting guard for the Cavs and scored 10 points.
Raptors 102, Real Madrid 96 • In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 18 as the Raptors beat the Spanish club.