JUNE 23rd: Williams has formally informed Portland that he will become a free agent, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN (on Twitter).
MAY 16th: Williams said once more that he will opt out of his contract, as he told reporters, including Haynes, at the team’s exit interviews today (Twitter link). He’ll seek a three-year contract which he believes will be his last, notes Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (on Twitter),
JANUARY 9th: Mo Williams intends to turn down his 2014/15 player option at season’s end, becoming an unrestricted free agent, he tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. According to Williams, opting out was always his plan, but he hopes to sign a new contract with the Trail Blazers in July.
“I would like to be here long-term,” Williams said. “My goal is to work something out with Portland this summer. I like it here and I want to make this place home…. For me, it’s about finishing my career the right way for the X amount of years that I have and I’d love to do it here because of the fan support, the familiarity with the coach and [GM] Neil [Olshey].”
Williams, 31, signed a two-year contract with the Trail Blazers in the offseason that will pay him $2.65MM this season, with a second-year player option worth $2.77MM. Often, in that sort of modestly priced two-year deal, the player option serves as an insurance policy — for instance, if Williams were to suffer a serious injury this spring, he’d have the chance to opt into the second year, ensuring him a regular pay check for 2014/15.
Many of Williams’ per-game averages this season (9.4 PPG, 24.4 MPG) are the lowest marks since his rookie year. Still, he has filled the role Portland had anticipated for him, providing a veteran presence and serving as a dangerous third guard off the bench, backing up Damian Lillard and Wesley Matthews. While he may not be in line for a big raise if and when he opts out, he could easily secure another multiyear deal.