“Hopefully he comes out and tells his story of how he did it and how he decided, but I thought he was very close to going to Dallas,” Kidd said. “People will be very shocked to hear that or say I’m just saying that, but he really, truly, I think, wanted to play at home. That was one of his ideas, playing at home, but it just didn’t work out this time around.”
Williams, the prized free agent, was said to be torn between re-signing with the Brooklyn-bound Nets, a move he finds exciting, or playing near friends and family for his hometown Mavericks alongside superstar Dirk Nowitzki.
Kidd, who spent much of last week playing golf with Williams in New York, said the point guard ultimately was impressed with the roster upgrades Nets general manager Billy King pulled off this week. King traded for Atlanta Hawks All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson without giving up emerging guard MarShon Brooks, re-signed Gerald Wallace and added promising 6-foot-9 Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic.
“Honestly, it came down to the roster,” Kidd said. “Brooklyn made moves that improved the roster dramatically, and he saw things were going that way. That would be my opinion from looking on the outside. He felt that if Dirk goes down he’s sitting with himself.”
It also didn’t hurt the Nets’ cause that they could offer Williams a five-year deal for $98 million while the new collective bargaining agreement limited the Mavs’ offer to four years and about $75 million.
“From my point of view, I would say it’s not about the money,” Kidd said. “He wants to win. He’s been losing. He’s been getting his teeth kicked in the last couple of years.”
The Nets’ roster moves squeezed Kidd, 39, out of the picture there, and has him eyeing a return to Dallas. He said agent Jeff Schwartz, who is also Williams’ agent, had a brief discussion Tuesday with either Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson or owner Mark Cuban, who has been in Los Angeles filming episodes of the television show “Shark Tank” and was not in Manhattan for the Mavs’ Monday afternoon sitdown with Williams.
Kidd is also in talks with the New York Knicks, who were trying to work a sign-and-trade to acquire Steve Nash before the Suns agreed to ship the point guard to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal Wednesday night, as reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. The Knicks also will have to make a decision on restricted free agent Jeremy Lin, who is expected to meet with the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and is also drawing interest from the Mavs.
Prior to the start of the free-agency period, Kidd said he would consider signing a one-year deal with Dallas, but he suggested Wednesday that such a deal was predicated on Williams signing there. Kidd has also said he hopes to play two more years, which would put him in an elite class to play 20 NBA seasons.
“Dallas has everything (Kidd’s contract requests). It’s just a matter if we can get a deal done with Cuban that he feels is right,” Kidd said. “A lot of it was probably referenced with D-Will coming, but he’s not, so it changes somewhat.”
A source close to the situation said the Mavs want to re-sign Kidd and are also actively engaged with Lin.
Williams grew up in the Dallas suburb The Colony idolizing Kidd. The two became friends as teammates on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team and have remained close, often playing golf during the offseason.
During the early portion of last season, Kidd began to publicly talk about the notion of him and Williams as a package deal this summer either to Brooklyn or Dallas. Kidd said he even would relinquish his starting job to Williams, and only Williams, for his final seasons.
Last week the duo made it known through Twitter that it was playing golf in the Hamptons, where Kidd recently purchased a new home. The players even poked fun at the massive speculation swirling around Williams’ impending decision with open-ended tweets about where the two might land.
After Williams met with representatives from the Mavs and Nets on Monday, Kidd tweeted to Williams: “how did those meetings go? Do we need a couple more rounds of golf?”
Some wondered if Kidd was advising Williams or recruiting him one way or the other. While Kidd won a championship in Dallas and has said he’d like to return, he also guided the former New Jersey Nets to two NBA Finals and has spoken fondly of the franchise’s move to Brooklyn.
But recruiting Williams to one team over another?
“With Deron, I was just the sounding board,” Kidd said. “We played golf, I’d ask him questions, he’d answer them, and if there’s anything he needed, if he had a question I would try to answer it. That’s how that all went.”
Information from ESPN.com’s Marc Stein was used in this report.