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Avery Johnson says only thing he can: Nets will keep Deron Williams

NBA London 2011 -  New Jersey Nets v Toronto Raptors

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: #8 Deron Williams of the Nets speaks with his coach, Avery Johnson during the NBA match between New Jersey Nets and the Toronto Raptors at the O2 Arena on March 4, 2011 in London, England. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

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Avery Johnson and the Nets organization have made their bet — they must convince Deron Williams to sign an extension with the team.

Williams can opt out in the summer of 2012. The Nets traded significant assets to Utah to bring D-Will in, they have to keep him. They have to get talent around him, they have to keep him happy.

Johnson said the Nets can do that, according to the Bergen Record. Of course, he admits that’s the only thing he can say.

“I have no doubt and I’m really, really confident that we’ll be able to re-sign him,” Nets coach Avery Johnson said after practice Wednesday…

“What am I supposed to say, I’m leery?” Johnson said. “All signs that I’ve seen and heard are that as we move forward, he’ll be in a Nets’ uniform.

“Down the road if that changes, I’m not going to be the first person in America or professional sports that [has] had no doubt and it didn’t work.”

Johnson can lay a foundation, build a relationship now. The real work comes during free agency and trade windows in the future (whenever those are after the lockout). D-Will is very competitive. He wants to win. If the Nets prove he can do that in Brooklyn, they will get his signature. And then Johnson’s confidence can seem prophetic.