The Brooklyn Nets have been trying to trade Joe Johnson this offseason, but it could be Deron Williams that is first to land with another team. ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the point guard is looking to be released so he can sign with the Dallas Mavericks.
Williams has two years and $43.3 million left on his contract, and his play over the last few years makes him virtually untradeable. While the Nets don't want to simply cut Williams, the two sides could come to terms on a buyout, which would allow him to sign elsewhere.
Brooklyn and Williams have reportedly began discussions about a potential buyout, as the three-time All-Star looks to play for his hometown team. Williams chose the Nets over the Mavericks when he entered free agency in 2012, but Brooklyn won’t be a contender next year and Dallas is coming off a 50-win season. A source told ESPN that there's a 60 to 70 percent chance that Williams will play for the Mavericks next year.
The Mavericks aren’t among the favorites in the Western Conference, having missed out on signing DeAndre Jordan, whose last-second change of heart has him back with the Los Angeles Clippers. But the team did give a four-year deal to free agent Wesley Matthews, and point guard is their greatest position of need.
The Nets have signed their two biggest free agents this offseason, giving new contracts to both Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young. Johnson is entering the final year of his contract, and Brooklyn has been looking to deal him, since he’ll be the NBA’s second-highest paid player in the 2015-2016 season. The 34-year-old has been linked to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies, and the Nets are reportedly optimistic that they’ll be able to trade him this summer.
Williams was once considered an elite point guard, but his production has taken a hit since signing his lucrative deal with the Nets three years ago. He averaged 13.0 points and 6.6 assists in 68 games last year. Johnson’s 14.4 points per game was his lowest scoring average since the 2002-2003 season.