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Season-long lockout may make it hard for Nets to keep D-Will

NBA London 2011 -  New Jersey Nets v Toronto Raptors

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 04: #8 Deron Williams of the Nets in action 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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The New Jersey-but-soon-to-be-Brooklyn Nets have one goal for the next season — keep Deron Williams. He is the cornerstone, he is the guy who can opt out next summer. He is the guy they need to win over.

Which will be pretty hard if there is no next season.

Williams told Chris Broussard of ESPN that a season lost to the labor dispute would hurt the Nets chance of keeping him.

“I think it will kind of put a damper on things because I want to see where the Nets are going this season,” Williams said. “See what kind of additions we can make, because that will definitely help. But I don’t know. I still can’t really say anything until the new CBA because who knows if I even can opt out? There’s no telling.”

Williams spoke highly of the Nets’ organization, saying he played golf with GM Billy King and coach Avery Johnson before the lockout. The club has pitched Williams on being the face of the new franchise in Brooklyn, and he likes what he’s heard so far.

“They have big dreams for Brooklyn and I can kind of picture that,” he said. “It kind of excites me. I think it can be big.”

Since announcing he was going to Turkey, Williams virtually has been the mouthpiece of the players union, and you have to wonder if this all ties in a little. Williams certainly wants the Nets to prove themselves to him, but this gives him a chance to put a little more pressure on one owner to end the lockout sooner. That may be a bit of a cynical way of looking at it, but right now I’m pretty cynical about what everybody says on both sides of this lockout.