UPDATE: Rajon Rondo has agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Kings. Whatever speculation there had been about Deron Williams being shipped to Sacramento is now dead.
We usually avoid the ESPN Trade Machine. There's enough speculation about deal-making in the comments, but as the Kings quest for a big name gets less and less likely, there's more and more suggestion that a Deron Williams trade could be the solution.
In the past few days, the Kings have moved contracts left and right to create cap space for a big name, but those big names keep saying no to owner Vivek Ranadive and Vlade Divac, who now runs basketball operations for his former team. Monta Ellis went to Indiana. Wes Matthews seems headed to Dallas. That leaves Rajon Rondo, who is still without a team and the next likely target. But as NBC Sports asked, "does pairing DeMarcus Cousins, George Karl and Rondo seem wise?" Pairing Coach Karl and Ranadive seems difficult enough!
So if Rondo doesn't join Sacramento --and his options at this point seem limited, would the Kings turn to D-Will? Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee thinks it possible.
The Kings expressed some interest in Deron Williams last season. If Rondo says no, the Kings could call Brooklyn for PG help.— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) July 3, 2015
Two nights ago, he raised the same speculation when writing about the cap space in Sacramento, which is now $22.2 million.
Yes the Kings can take on a big contract (like Deron Williams), too. More flexibility for sure.— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) July 2, 2015
Others are doing the same.
The Kings DID have interest in Williams last season with then Kings GM wanting D-Will and Mason Plumlee for Darren Collison, Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams and possibly Nik Stauskas. The Nets refused to deal Plumlee. That deal is now impossible. The GM, Pete D'Alessandro is now in Denver. Plumlee is in Portland, Collison is recovering from knee surgery, Thompson and Stauskas went to Philadelphia and Derrick Williams is an unrestricted free agent talking to, among others, the Knicks.
Some other combination could work. We will leave it to the aficionados of the trade machine to work things out on other scenarios, but the Nets would accept almost anything reasonable --or unreasonable-- for D-Will. A deal could be unbalanced from a contract standpoint. A straight up trade of Collison for Williams for example would work (and provide the Nets with a $15 million trade exception)..A piece could be added from the Nets roster. Truth be told, the term, addition by subtraction, has quite a bit of currency right now in Brooklyn.
One potential problem is Karl. Back in January when he still worked at ESPN, he participated in an exercise along with Tom Penn, Chad Ford and others on how to fix the Nets. He discussed a Kings-Nets trade centered on D-Will.
"He scares me," wrote Karl of Williams. "Ever since he's been in Brooklyn and New Jersey, he's been a different player. Because of his injuries, he slowed down -- the West was better for him; the East is too slow." He liked a deal structured around Joe Johnson better.
Of course, no one knows how much of a role Karl has in trade discussions. According to some reports, he and his owner, Vivek Ranadive aren't speaking.
If Rondo says yes, it's back to square one. And that could happen this weekend. Still, it's speculation worth watching. As Ian Eagle said earlier in the week, The Nets, he believes, will try to trade him, but if that doesn't work, "just decide they've got to cut bait and move on without him." It's that bad.
Would that stop the Nets from talking to teams about Joe Johnson? Don't know, but Johnson does have his supporters in Brooklyn. Mike Mazzeo says they are looking.
Sources: #Nets have actively shopped Joe Johnson in the last two days. But teams leery of taking on his contract and gutting their team.— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) July 2, 2015
And for good reason...
So, despite the team's success in wrapping up Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young so early and adding all those young pieces -- Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough, Juan Pablo Vaulet, Shane Larkin, Thomas Robinson and maybe Cliff Alexander -- there is, as Mazzeo tweets, a lot of work to do.