Deron Williams

Well, I’ll be damned. The Nets actually pulled it off. Sure, we all laughed at them when they traded this year’s first round pick (which turned into Damian Lillard) to the Blazers for Gerald Wallace because most of us probably assumed Deron Williams would leave and they’d have to convince Brooklyn fans to get excited about a team with no stars and MarShon Brooks in the starting lineup. But after they re-signed Wallace and traded a bunch of expiring contracts and a future draft pick to the Hawks for Joe Johnson, they convinced Williams to re-sign with them for the max — which works out to around five years and $98.75 million.

It’s impossible to know how the Dwight Howard saga is going to play out, but if they go into their first season in Brooklyn with a starting lineup of Williams, Johnson, Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez, that’s a pretty damn good starting five. Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted earlier tonight that the Nets will try to re-sign Humphries if they can’t make a Howard deal happen this off-season.

Let’s give full credit to Nets GM Billy King for rapidly turning what could have been an unmitigated disaster into the most compelling success story of the 2012 NBA off-season. The Nets certainly aren’t championship contenders now, but they’re probably a playoff team if they can have some luck in the health department and if King manages to fill out their roster with serviceable NBA players. Somewhere, Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov is laughing his butt off while he’s surrounded by supermodels and miniature giraffes.