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New deal means ‘rejuvenation’ for Deron Williams
Olympics » After re-signing with Nets for $98M, point guard ready to dig for gold.

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"It was a really tough decision," he added. "But I think it ultimately came down to who I thought had a better chance to win, especially for a long period of time."

Williams said he "flip-flopped" several times in his head, and left a meeting with the Mavs on Monday thinking he would sign with them and make all of his friends and family members happy by coming home with his wife and four children.

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But then the Nets traded to acquire fellow All-Star Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks just hours before Williams met with them, and that "got me over the hump," Williams said.

"I’ve never played with anybody like him," he said, "a guy on the wing that can get his own shot and also get me involved and is a great defender. We could have one of the top backcourts in the NBA, for sure."

The Nets will be moving into the glittering new Barclays Arena next season, and are believed to be pursuing Orlando’s Dwight Howard, who also would be with the national team if not for back surgery. The All-Star 7-foot center could really elevate a team that has not made the playoffs since 2007 and endured a 70-loss season just two years ago — though Williams refused to guess whether that will happen.

"I’m just worried about winning a gold medal right now," Williams said.

That’s something Williams did four years ago at the Beijing Olympics while still a member of the Jazz, and he figures to play a similar role for the Americans this time.

While veteran Jason Kidd is gone from the Beijing team, Williams and Chris Paul are back, along with new point guard Russell Westbrook. The trio figures to share the playing time, though coach Mike Krzyzewski said he aspires to assemble a team whose players are almost interchangeable, positionally.

"We’re trying to put in a system where guys can play multiple spots on the floor," he said.

Either way, the Olympics will be something of a tunnel for Williams, leading from the first chapter of his pro career into the second one — loaded with all of that money, a team with a chance to make some noise and the promise of a future as the face of a rising franchise.

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"It’s one of the reasons I stayed," he said. "The buzz in Brooklyn is big. The arena is going to be amazing. I think it’s going to be an exciting time. I think we’re going to have a pretty good team this year so we have a chance to become better. A lot of our guys are a little underrated. … It will kind of be like a rejuvenation for all of us."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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