Free Agent Stock Watch: Marvin Williams

Back in February, the Jazz reportedly rejected at least one trade proposal for Marvin Williams that would have netted them a late first round pick in this year’s loaded draft. Around that time, the 6’9 forward also mentioned that he liked Utah and hoped to be a part of the team’s future. However, it’s worth mentioning that Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio most recently listed Williams as one of a handful of free agents who appear unlikely to be back with their respective teams. To get an idea of his current value, let’s take a look at how his NBA career has fared up to this point.

Judging by the improvements made over his first three seasons in the league, Williams steadily climbed toward fulfilling the potential envisioned when the Hawks selected him second overall in 2005. Over that span, his scoring numbers jumped from 8.5 to 14.8, his rebounding average increased from 4.3 to 5.7, his overall shooting averages improved from 44.3% to 46.2%, and he got to the line 5.1 times per game in his third year, up from his 3.2 FTA as a rookie. Although he didn’t see marked improvements in any of the aforementioned categories during his fourth season – he posted 13.9 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.5 FTA and 45.8% shooting overall, respectively – Williams began to show promise from long distance, connecting on 35.5% of his attempts from three point range. With all this in mind, the Hawks rewarded Williams during the 2009 offseason with a five-year deal worth about $37.5MM.

Following that contract extension, Williams’ production over the next three seasons was more characteristic of a solid role player rather than a former second overall pick: 10.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and roughly 2.6 FTA in his next 203 games. The Hawks would eventually deal him to Utah in exchange for Devin Harris during the 2012 offseason, and Williams’ numbers dipped even further. In 2012-13, he averaged 7.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and shot 42.3% from the field in 23.7 minutes per game. The 2013/14 season was a modest bounce back year for Williams, as he put up 9.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and delivered on 43.9% of his overall field goal attempts in 25.4 MPG.

To get a rough idea of what type of contract Williams could be looking for, we can examine some of the deals that a few other wing players around the league earned last summer. Blazers guard-forward Dorell Wright signed a two-year deal worth $6MM following a 2012/13 season in which he averaged 9.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and shot 39.6% from the field in 22.6 MPG. Last summer, Martell Webster re-upped with the Wizards for four years and $22MM after posting 11.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and shooting at a  44.2% clip in 28.9 MPG. The Timberwolves inked Corey Brewer to a three-year, $14.1MM deal after the former Florida standout produced 12.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 42.5% shooting in 24.4 MPG for the Nuggets. Keeping this in mind, it would seem fair to assume that Williams would set his asking price somewhere between $3MM-$6MM annually.

Throughout the season, there was ample indication that the Jazz hoped to make Williams part of their future. He is known to be well-liked by his teammates in Utah and, as mentioned earlier, the front office decided against trading the former UNC product for a draft pick in order to have a chance at retaining him this summer. Those factors probably won’t be enough to dissuade Williams from testing the waters, however. The Tandem Sports & Entertainment client will turn 28 in June, which should make him an intriguing option for other teams that are scouring the free agent market for a combo forward. A chance at more minutes on a more competitive team could be too enticing to pass up, especially if that team can offer him close to the same amount of playing time he received during his first few seasons in the league.

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