New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams will be a free agent following this season. Most people feel that the Nets’ only shot at re-signing Williams dissipated when Orlando Magic center, Dwight Howard, opted to stay with the Magic next season. The Nets’ master plan was to acquire Howard and team him with Williams to build the franchise around the premier point guard and center.
Unless the Magic trade Howard, which is unlikely, the Nets will have to try and persuade Williams to stick around to be the face of the team as it moves to Brooklyn and the Barclays Center.
Williams is seen as likely to sign elsewhere once the season is over, and may have tipped his hand Friday night following the Nets’ 110-98 win over the Wizards. According to Andy Vasquez, the Nets beat writer for the Bergen Record, Williams was asked if he wished the NBA season was longer than 66 games because the Nets play has improved. He said, “Still be hard to miss the playoffs.”
Williams was then asked a follow-up question about the season, and he responded, “Yeah, you’d like to see more of it.” He then laughed, took a long pause, and then said, “19 days.” That countdown will conclude on April 26, when the Nets will close out the regular season.
Williams is clearly disenchanted with the Nets play this season, and is eager for the season to end. He was accustomed to winning. In his five full seasons with the Utah Jazz before being shipped to New Jersey, Williams played in the playoffs four times, averaging 21.1 points and 9.6 assists per game and leading the 2006-07 Jazz to the Western Conference finals, where they lost to the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs.
The bottom line is, the Nets are seen as a long shot to retain Williams – he wants to sign with a team that gives him a shot at his first NBA Finals. His hometown Dallas Mavericks have been mentioned as a possible destination. Before opting to remain in Orlando, Dwight Howard was also seen as a player the Mavericks had a shot to sign. Even without Howard, Williams may feel the Mavericks give him the best chance to win.