The Mavericks have signed unrestricted free agent Deron Williams, the team announced in a press release. Williams became a free agent Monday when he cleared waivers from the Nets as part of a much-publicized buyout deal. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported Friday that Williams, a Dallas-area native, was expected to sign a two-year contract worth about $10MM, though Stein later said the deal would be worth between $10MM and $12MM (Twitter link).
The deal with the Mavs will set off a portion of the money that Brooklyn still owes the Jeff Schwartz client. Set-off rights absolve Brooklyn from paying half the difference between what Williams will make each year with Dallas and the one-year veteran’s minimum salary each of those years. The terms of Williams’ buyout, in which he forfeited all but about $27.5MM of the nearly $43.374MM left on his contract, call for the Nets to pay him about $5.5MM a year for the next five seasons. The contract only covered this season and next, but Brooklyn used the stretch provision to spread out its remaining commitment to him.
Nets coach Lionel Hollins denies that Williams’ failure to see eye-to-eye with him, which reportedly led to an altercation in which the point guard had to be restrained from going after his coach, was the reason Brooklyn saw fit to move on. Williams doesn’t figure to find a more sympathetic coach in Dallas, where Rick Carlisle clashed with Rajon Rondo this past season. The deal with Williams helps offset the void at point guard that Rondo left when he and the team essentially parted ways during the playoffs during the playoffs, and it also helps salve some of the wounds from DeAndre Jordan‘s reversal of his decision to sign with the Mavs.
Yet Williams is no longer the top-flight point guard he was when the Mavs courted him in free agency during the summer of 2012, when he spurned Dallas to instead re-sign with the Nets. The now 31-year-old Williams scored fewer points per game and saw fewer minutes per game this past season than any year since he was a rookie. Still, he was more efficient in his time on the floor than fellow former Nets All-Star Devin Harris, who’d otherwise be in line for the starting job in Dallas, and Williams comes without the cost of assets that trading for Ty Lawson or Brandon Jennings probably would.