The Nets won’t rule out trading away former All-Star point guard Deron Williams, sources tell Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. Williams just finished a hugely disappointing season, his fourth with Brooklyn and the second on his five-year, $99MM contract. While the Nets advanced beyond last season’s disappointing first-round exit, they lost swiftly to the Heat and Williams shot under 40% for the playoffs.
Williams was once thought to be one of the top two or three point guards in the game, but his play has deteriorated of late. He only managed to average 14.3 points and 6.1 assists per game this season, bringing his career totals down to 17.4 PPG and 8.7 APG. Ankle injuries have lingered with Williams in recent seasons, and he told reporters including Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press that he is considering having his ankles surgically repaired to try and regain his mobility and confidence.
No reports suggest the Nets are aggressively seeking to move Williams at this point, but an openness to moving what was meant to be their foundational piece in constructing a roster for immediate title contention is a telling sign. Beck reports that the alternative to keeping Williams in place as the starting point guard would be to retool the roster around Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez, while pushing to hold onto both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for a final run at a title. The Nets wouldn’t likely get much in return for a player making close to $20MM a year with a PER under 18. Still, some teams may be intrigued with the 29-year-old as a buy-low candidate, aside from his massive salary. The Rockets inquired about Williams in talks involving Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin this winter, but at the time the Nets were unwilling to move the former All-Star.