Coming Off Bad Playoffs, Wild Speculation Begins About Williams’ Future With Nets
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Raise your hand if you have any idea what the Nets will do this summer to fix what ended up being a disappointing team during the 2013-14 season.
It seems everyone has an opinion, and almost all of them revolve around point guard Deron Williams’ future.
Speculation about Williams, he of the huge contract, but the tiny fourth quarters in the playoffs, is already running rampant. Due to the mega-trade that brought Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn last offseason, the Nets are not in the best of shape salary cap-wise and don’t have a first-round pick in this year’s draft. At this point, if the Nets decide to shake things up somewhat, Williams would seem like the most attractive option to try to move.
However, there are several schools of thought here on how Brooklyn should approach its offseason.
WFAN’s Evan Roberts has suggested the Nets may look at their cap and draft situations and decide to take their chances with basically the same roster next season, with the one glaring difference being a healthy Brook Lopez at center.
But there has also been speculation that the Nets could try to move Williams and the remaining $63 million left on his contract and build around Lopez and Joe Johnson, reported Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. Williams, now 29 and dealing with bad ankles, could be attractive to a team like the Houston Rockets, Beck added.
Brian Geltzeiler, founder of HoopsCritic.com and a host on Sirius XM NBA Radio, has basically said there’s no way Williams will return, and that general manager Billy King will do everything in his power to get some kind of return for a player who no longer wants to be in Brooklyn and whose value has decreased dramatically since getting his five-year, $100 million deal back in July of 2012.
Williams suffered through the worst postseason of his 10-year career, averaging just 14.5 points and 5.8 assists in 12 games. He also shot a brutal 39.5 percent from the floor. By contrast, last season, when the Nets were bounced from the playoffs in seven games by the Chicago Bulls in the first round, he averaged 20.6 and 8.4, respectively, and shot nearly 43 percent from the floor.
As for Williams himself, the Nets tweeted on Friday that he wants another shot with the team and Pierce and Garnett — who will be 37 and 38, respectively, by the beginning of next season.
Pierce will be a free agent, but the Nets can pay him the Larry Bird exception, meaning they can potentially pay him more than any team and exceed the salary cap to do it. Garnett has hinted that he will consider retiring.
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