Marc Stein of ESPN has reported that Nets point guard Deron Williams is hoping to be released by the team so he can join his hometown team, the Dallas Mavericks. According to Stein's report, it's "60-70 percent" he winds up in Dallas.
Story going online now: ESPN sources say Deron Williams seeking release from Brooklyn Nets so he can sign with his hometown Dallas Mavericks— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 10, 2015
As covered in the story, there is strong mutual interest between Mavs and Deron Williams to strike deal if Williams and Nets can part ways— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 10, 2015
NetsDaily can confirm the report. Discussions have been ongoing for weeks. The options are a buyout under which the two years worth of salary left on Williams' contract would be paid out to him as a percentage of what he's owed; a stretch of the salary over five years ... or a combination of the two in which the buyout would be stretched. Under the best circumstances, the Nets would still have to carry several million dollars on the cap for as long as five years.
But as John Schuhmann notes, there are advantages...
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Nets can possibly get out of the luxury tax completely w/ a buyout for Williams (depending on the $) & then using the stretch provision.</p>— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) <a href="https://twitter.com/johnschuhmann/status/619492899512799232">July 10, 2015</a></blockquote>
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The two teams have been linked before in a Deron Williams conversation. In 2012, when the Nets were headed to Brooklyn, the Dallas Mavericks were the one threat to the Nets' hopes of re-signing the star point guard.
Now, after DeAndre Jordan bounced back and forth from L.A. to Dallas and., the Mavericks have room to sign someone like Williams. They also need a point guard, bad.
Here's what Stein had to say about the situation:
Sources told ESPN.com that the Nets, whose well-chronicled hope is moving out both Williams and fellow former cornerstone Joe Johnson before the start of next season, have opened buyout talks with Williams on the remaining two years and $43.3 million of his contract.
A buyout, if Williams' representatives and the Nets can come to terms, would be Brooklyn's preference compared to outright waiving the 31-year-old. The Nets have been adamant since the end of the season that they do not want to simply release Williams via the stretch provision, even though it would allow them to pay out his remaining salary over the next five seasons and reduce their luxury-tax bill, as long as such a measure is executed before the Aug. 31 deadline.
Stein also discusses how trade talks for Williams have gone nowhere since the Nets and Kings talked about potential deal last season. The Nets declined that deal because Sacramento wanted Mason Plumlee, who the Nets did not want to give up. He's now in Portland after a Draft Night deal that brought the Nets Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
His colleague Mike Mazzeo tweeted out other details...and who might take his place, at least in the interim.
While #Nets had been active in trying to trade Deron, higher-ups in organization believed buyout possibility could be ultimate resolution.— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) July 10, 2015
If D-Will bought out, Jack could serve as a transition PG & money saved could go toward bigger PG pursuit in summer of '16 (Conley?) #Nets— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) July 10, 2015
Williams is set to make more than $43 million over the next two years. After three straight seasons of constant turmoil --in large part due to injuries and leadership issues -- the Nets have been working effortlessly to get Williams off the books. Nothing would get them closer to their goal of getting under the luxury tax threshold ... and away from the repeater tax.
The Mavericks won'n't seek a trade because of the negative implications it would have on their salary cap. And although Billy King said "no" when asked about a Deron Williams buyout early in the summer, insiders believe a buyout is the ultimate solution.
The Nets would need to get rid of Williams and/or Joe Johnson in order to avoid the repeater tax. The Nets explored a potential salary-dump trade with Cleveland involving Joe Johnson in order to do so, but Cleveland wasn't interested due to Johnson's huge contract.
"As they look at their team in regards to Deron Williams, I'm not convinced that moving forward that Deron can be a part of this. Now the finances play a big role in all of that. The issue is going to be whether they try to do everything in their power to trade him or at some point just decide they've got to cut bait and move on without him. Those are the decisions that will have to made down the road by Billy King and ownership."
Eagle also said the Nets also believed "there's a role for Joe Johnson on this team."
A month ago, Billy King said there was "zero chance" of a buyout or a stretch of Williams contract, and even suggested yesterday that it was likely Williams would be on the Nets roster for the season opener ... but would not guarantee that he and Joe Johnson would with the club at the end of the season, when luxury taxes are calculated.