Point guard Deron Williams, who is slated to become a free agent on July 1, stated over the weekend that he narrowed his choice of teams to play for during the 2012-13 NBA season to the Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets.
The news dealt a blow to several teams interested in the talented point guard that is arguably the top free agent on the market this offseason. The Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets were all interested in proposing offers to Williams, while the Lakers were dangling Pau Gasol as part of a sign and trade package to acquire the All-Star point guard.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each of these two teams as they pursue Williams.
Brooklyn Nets: Perhaps the strongest positives for the Nets retaining Williams are familiarity and the team’s move from New Jersey. Williams has been a member of the Nets since he was traded by the Utah Jazz on February 23, 2011. He’s had an opportunity to work with the core players of the franchise, which makes it easier to know where a player will be on the floor at any given time. Throw in that the team is moving to a borough of New York City, which opens up a slew of new marketing opportunities for the franchise, and money is no longer a stumbling block.
The team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, is not afraid to spend money or make deals to try and improve the club. The Nets can offer Williams a max contract, which would fall in the neighborhood of five years and $100 million. The Mavericks can only offer four years and around $75 million. With the recent waves that Dwight Howard is demanding a trade to Brooklyn, should the Nets pull that off, Williams would more than likely stay with the Nets.
Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks entered the 2011-12 season as the defending champions but were wiped out in the opening round by the Thunder. Dirk Nowitzki is still the leader of the team and Dallas has other capable pieces but is in desperate need of a point guard. Jason Kidd is still decent, but is 39 and missed 18 games last season. On top of that, he’s become solely a perimeter shooter as evidenced by the fact that 223 of his 273 field goal attempts were from three point range. He hit career lows in points (6.2), rebounds (4.1) and assists (5.5) per game last season.
With an owner like Mark Cuban, Williams knows that the Mavericks can and will get the pieces necessary to make another deep run in the playoffs. Cuban has the deep pockets to put together a championship caliber club and the franchise is in good enough shape that players are willing to come to Dallas to be a part of the Mavericks, even if it means leaving a little cash on the table. Dallas has the hometown pull for Williams as well; he played high school basketball in the area before going on to the University of Illinois and then the Jazz.
Williams said that he will choose the team that is best prepared to be a championship contender as he enters the prime of his career. Do you think Williams will resign with the Nets or head home and be a part of the Mavericks next season?