Hey, do you want to know the least surprising news in the world? Deron Williams is going to become a free agent this summer, rather than picking up his 2012-13 option with the New Jersey Nets.
Aren’t you shocked? No? Not at all? I didn’t think so.
But if you were the least bit curious if he had any plans to stick around for the move to Brooklyn, maybe this will change your mind. From Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears:
“People get traded all the time,” Williams told Yahoo! Sports. “They don’t get backlash as an organization. If [players] leave, we are not loyal, we are ungrateful. People say stuff to me on Twitter. They already think I’m gone. They are out there bashing me, saying to me I’m a traitor.
“I didn’t ask to be here. I got traded. I didn’t come here being a free agent. This is the first time that I’m a free agent in my career.”
And this, when asked if Dwight Howard coming to New Jersey would have changed his mind about staying with the Nets.
“Oh yeah, it definitely would have changed things. I’ve already made it known that if he would have come I probably would have stayed.”
So other than the fact that Deron Williams is now on record as saying he didn’t ask to be in New Jersey, that he considers himself a free agent when there is still technically a way he could re-up with the Nets, that he is going to be giving up money to test the market, and that a Dwight Howard trade would have “changed things” and made him want to stay, things look pretty good for the Nets. I mean, they only traded Derrick Favors, the pick that became Enes Kanter and the Warriors’ first round pick this year as long as it’s not in the top seven for a (shortened) season and a half of Deron Williams, then compounded things by trading expiring contracts and ANOTHER first round pick this year for Gerald Wallace, who could opt out at the end of this season. That’s just four lottery picks in exchange for 94 guaranteed games* from Williams and Wallace. No big deal. Excellent rebuilding strategy.
As Deeks said at the trade deadline, the Gerald Wallace trade was about keeping Deron Williams around — probably why Williams calls himself the Nets’ “assistant GM” — in the hopes that they could convince Dwight Howard to come to Brooklyn when he is actually ready to leave the Magic. But if Deron leaves, like Deeks said, the Nets have nothing — no elite players, no assets and no plan for getting better any time soon. And since it sure seems like Deron is headed out that door, that worst case scenario is looking mighty likely.
Fun time to be a Nets fan.
*Williams’ games last year + Williams’ games this year + Wallace’s games this year + (Remaining Nets games x 2) = 94 games, assuming Wallace declines his player option for next season