Over the past two years, the Utah Jazz have made it to the Western Conference semifinals and to within one round of the NBA Finals.
Jazz fans might be excited to hear that Deron Williams believes in his agent's words "the best is yet to come."
Utah faithful might also be as stoked to hear that the Olympian and one of the NBA's brightest young stars wants to be part of that seemingly promising future in the Beehive State.
Though the Jazz's success over the next few years can't be guaranteed, Williams' spot on the team's roster could soon be locked up in a fat contract. Williams' representative, Bob McClaren, confirmed Tuesday night that he and the Jazz point guard will meet with Utah brass here at a still-to-be-determined time this week to begin negotiations on a long-term contract extension.
"We're excited about accomplishing our goal of making Deron Williams part of the Jazz family for an even longer time ... ," McClaren said. "Deron wants to be part of the organization. He loves his teammates, the organization and the community very much."
Not to mention the future paychecks, which could amount to as much as $90 million if he agrees to a deal that would keep him in a Jazz uniform for another five years after the 2008-09 season. That is the maximum he is eligible for, but he could also try to work a shorter three-or four-year deal out with opt-out clauses. He could also decide to play out the final year of his rookie contract, and negotiate with the Jazz or test free-agent waters next summer, if things don't pan out this summer.
The latter seems to be the least-likely scenario.
"All the pieces are there for a great partnership for a long time to come," McClaren said.
When asked how long and big of a contract Williams is hoping to secure, McClaren said he'd prefer first making his client's intentions known to Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor in their face-to-face meeting(s) this week.
Williams does want the process to go quickly and smoothly, though preferably before he rejoins Team USA later this month for the Beijing Olympics in August.
"We'd like to get something done in a very short term," McClaren said. "That's our attitude."
O'Connor said Tuesday that he couldn't speak about player negotiations, including Williams and other possible free-agent signings. The Jazz GM previously said he likes the fact that his point guard is sticking around Salt Lake City this summer and that he's taking active interest in the team's decisions because "we want him part of this for a long time, and we want him to be involved."He takes ownership of the Utah Jazz right now, and we really appreciate that and enjoy it," O'Connor said earlier this summer. "We think it's important that he does that a point guard that does that."
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