While Mo Williams plans to exercise his $8.5MM player option and remain with the Clippers next season, the situation isn't is simple as that, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. According to agent Mark Bartelstein, he and the Clippers are trying to "find a solution" that will work for both sides.
"Mo's a professional and I think he showed that last season," Bartelstein said. "He had a great year under difficult circumstances. That said, he's a starting point guard. He's an All-Star starting point guard. So we'll look at everything and see what makes sense."
Bartelstein and Shelburne both refer to Williams' reduced role for the Clippers as a source of contention, implying that the veteran guard would rather not come off the bench for another season, but I assume there's more at play here. If Williams opts into the final year of his deal, he becomes not only a trade candidate, as a player on an expiring contract, but perhaps even an amnesty candidate. Presumably, the player and agent want assurances that the Clips won't look to move Williams if he opts in, since then he'll have no control over where he plays in 2012/13.
As I wrote when I previewed the Clippers' offseason, the team's cap situation will be significantly affected by Williams' decision. The club has about $50MM in guaranteed salaries on its books, so if the Alabama alum exercises his option, it would take Los Angeles over the cap. Williams is extremely unlikely to find a higher annual salary if he opts out, but long-term security is important to the 29-year-old.
Williams has until June 30th to pick up his player option.