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(Chris Detrick/Tribune file photo) Deron Williams kisses his gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The Americans are still the gold-medal favorite for the London Games, but the seemingly endless series of injuries that has removed player after player from the roster of potential Olympians has left Team USA with a considerable challenge.
New deal means ‘rejuvenation’ for Deron Williams
Olympics » After re-signing with Nets for $98M, point guard ready to dig for gold.
First Published Jul 07 2012 12:31 pm • Last Updated Oct 30 2012 11:31 pm

Las Vegas • At first, it was just an order. A command, barked out to create more space amid the reporters crowding the corner of the basketball court where he was shooting 3-pointers, one after the other.

"Get that boom mic out my face!"

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But soon, as he found his rhythm and the shots kept falling, it became a kind of playful trigger phrase for guard Deron Williams, shouted every time he rose to fire off another shot in a shooting contest against teammate James Harden after the first day of practice with the U.S. men’s national team, as it prepares for the London Olympics.

"Get that boom mic out my face!"

Swish.

"Get that boom mic out my face!"

Swish.

"Get that boom mic out my face!"

On his last shot, Williams released the ball, jumped and spun around theatrically, so his back was to the basket when the ball snapped through the net.

It was his 10th straight bucket from the corner, and a pretty good indication that if the former Jazz point guard — the man whose departure last year transformed the franchise — had been stressed out about deciding whether to re-sign with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets or join his hometown Dallas Mavericks, he wasn’t worried anymore.


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"I’m glad it’s over," Williams said after taking a chair along the sideline. "Everybody talks about how fun it is, and this and that. But I don’t think it’s fun."

Not until the checks start coming, anyway.

Two days before reporting to training camp for the London Olympics, the 28-year-old Williams made some of the biggest news of the NBA offseason by agreeing to a five-year contract worth nearly $100 million to stay with the Nets, rather than jump to the Mavericks.

The decision validated the daring trade the Nets made to acquire him last year in the wake of his clash with former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan — sending promising forward Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris, two first-round draft picks and cash to the Jazz, without knowing for sure whether they could keep him beyond the end of last season.

Since then, Favors has developed nicely — he’s playing here on the "Select Team" that opposes Team USA in practice — Harris has been traded for forward Marvin Williams, and one of the draft picks has turned into center Enes Kanter, with the other yet to be used.

All things considered, Williams believes the deal worked out for everybody.

"Yeah, it did," he said. "I didn’t give them any inclination I was going to sign there. I always said I wanted to be a free agent and explore my options. So Kevin [O’Connor] did a smart thing. … He got some assets for me. Got some good players. He’s a good GM, and he did a great job."

O’Connor and members of his staff watched the workouts at the new Mendenhall Center practice facility at UNLV, and Williams chatted with them afterward.

"There’s no hard feelings, man," he said. "It’s a business."

Williams is not allowed to sign his new deal until Wednesday, which also means he won’t take part in any full-scale contact drills with the national team until then, but clearly he was relieved to finally have made a difficult choice.

"I just wanted to get it over with, so people could stop talking about it," he said. "I don’t like being a topic of discussion. That way, everybody else can worry about their free agency, too. I guess a lot of people had to wait for me to make a move before they could do something, so I wanted to try to get out of the way as soon as possible."

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