Wallace felt signing early was good for Williams
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Gerald Wallace is convinced that re-signing with the Brooklyn Nets early in free agency helped convince Deron Williams to return to the franchise and play in its new home.
Speaking on a conference call on Monday, more than two weeks after agreeing to a four-year, $40 million contract, Wallace, a small forward, was confident the Nets have made the moves necessary to challenge in the Eastern Conference.
In addition to re-signing Wallace, Williams and center Brook Lopez, the Nets acquired six-time All-Star shooting guard Joe Johnson in a multi-player deal with the Atlanta Hawks.
The Nets also confirmed on Monday that they signed veteran swingman Jerry Stackhouse to a one-year, $1.4 million deal, and forward Mirza Teletovic to a three-year, $9.8 million contract.
``I'm excited to be back with Brooklyn, so we can get things turned around, get the franchise headed in the right direction,'' Wallace said, ``and hopefully push for a championship.''
Wallace said he wanted to get his contract done quickly, because he was holding a youth basketball camp in Alabama. However, he also felt he had a good idea that Williams would to return to the Nets rather than sign with Dallas. The two spoke a couple of days before free agency opened.
``I was confident. I understood,'' Wallace said. ``I figured we'd get D-Will back. He really wanted to come back and I know that he focused on me signing. And I knew once I signed, that worked in our favor getting him back. And then I think with getting Joe Johnson in a trade, I think that sold him on the idea.
``My thing was to sign, and give him that confidence that I'd be there with him.''
Wallace, who was acquired from Portland before the trade deadline last season, wanted to stay with the Nets all along.
``But the main focus was having Deron,'' he said. ``I'm going into my 12th year in the league, and I didn't want to be in a stage where we're in a rebuilding process, starting all over with young guys. The main thing was having some core guys there and being able to compete now.''
Wallace is happy with the many moves made by Brooklyn general manager Billy King.
`I think we've made a statement team-wise about the direction we want to head in,'' Wallace said. ``I think we've got some great pieces. I understand that Billy and those guys are still doing some hard work to make some things happen for us, and I think right now, we've had a great start, and I think we can get better as a team.
``If not, I feel confident with the team that we have now going into training camp. And, hopefully, (if) everybody stays healthy, we can make a push for the postseason.''
The Nets have missed the playoffs the past five seasons, the last two as temporary tenants at the Prudential Center in Newark while the move to Brooklyn was finalized.
``I feel like we put ourselves pretty much up there in the top five,'' Wallace said of the Nets' chances in the Eastern Conference. ``We haven't proven anything; the teams that are ahead of us, are the teams that have proven themselves, that have already been in the postseason. Just by us putting it on paper, saying we have these guys, they've been in the league, that doesn't mean anything. We still have to go out and prove ourselves.''
Stackhouse appeared in 30 games with the Hawks last season, averaging 3.6 points and 9.1 minutes. The 17-year NBA veteran did not appear in any of Atlanta's six playoff games. Selected third overall by Philadelphia in 1995, the North Carolina product has career averages of 17.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 31.8 minutes.
Teletovic spent last season with Caja Laboral Vitoria of the Spanish ACB League. He averaged 16.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in 31.1 minutes.
On Wednesday, the Nets will hold another press conference, this one for Lopez, who re-signed last week.