Nets find anchor

Deron Williams.

It didn’t take the Nets long to answer their cross-river rival. They acquired maybe the NBA’s best point guard Deron Williams from Utah for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, two first-round draft picks and cash.

After whiffing on Carmelo Anthony, the Nets (17-40) may have received an all-around better player in two-time All-Star Williams, who is averaging 21.3 points and 9.7 assists.

“This is not a Plan B,” said coach Avery Johnson. “It was just one that wasn’t announced. One that nobody got until recently. He’s not a Plan B. He’s a Plan A also. We’ve been working on this for a while.”

Can they keep him?

Williams’ contract expires after next season, and there’s no guarantee he’ll stick around if the Nets can’t build around him.

The team should have enough money this offseason, even with a shrinking salary cap, to make a competitive offer to a star player. There’s only one problem — it’s slim pickings. David West and Jeff Green will be the best available scorers.

O.J. Mayo and Michael Beasley will be available in 2012, but the Nets’ cap space shrinks dramatically as Brook Lopez becomes a restricted FA.


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