The Brooklyn Nets have released point guard Deron Williams which could pave the way for him to join the Dallas Mavericks. Williams has played in the NBA for ten years with nearly five of those seasons being spent with the Brooklyn Nets. In 2012, the Nets signed Williams to a lucrative five-year deal that was worth $98 million and he has failed to live up to it. Williams began his NBA career with the Utah Jazz where he averaged 17.3 points and 9.1 assists. But with the Nets, Williams’ numbers have slightly dipped as he averaged 16.6 points and 7.5 assists with them. Williams’ field goal percentage has also been down as he shot 42 percent from the floor with the Nets compared to almost 47 percent with the Jazz. Williams has seen his minutes per game average go down in every season with the Nets as injuries and his inability to perform in the clutch have made him a lightning rod of controversy in New York City. When Williams put his name on the dotted line with the Nets, there were high expectations, and if you are unable to deliver the mail in the Big Apple, the folks there will let you know about it.
With the Nets, Williams has been the typical player that wanted the money and the prestige from being on the big stage, but not the overall responsibility that is attached to it. When the Nets acquired Williams in 2011, he was in the midst of making his second of three consecutive appearances in the NBA All-Star Game and he was acknowledged as being one of the best point guards in the league which was evident by him being a member of the United States Men’s Basketball Team that won the gold medal in the Summer Olympics in both 2008 and 2012. But as soon as the Nets signed Williams to his extension in 2012, the real D-Will emerged.
All of a sudden Williams didn’t like the system that Nets head coach Avery Johnson was using. This was the same system that Johnson had implemented in which Williams played in for more than a year before signing his new deal. But now Williams envisioned himself as being made out of teflon and thus Johnson was fired. Williams has developed a reputation around the NBA as being a “coach killer”. During Williams’ time with the Nets, he played for four different head coaches and once you factor in that he ran Jerry Sloan out of town with the Jazz, he hasn’t built a quality reputation. This past season the Nets had a head coach in Lionel Hollins that wasn’t going to put up with Williams and his excess baggage which saw him benched in favor of backup point guard Jarrett Jack.
Williams is now 31-years old and with diminishing basketball skills, he still wants to show that he can get it done and a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered for both him and the Nets. If Williams does get his wish to join the Mavericks, he will be a part of an organization that has championship aspirations, but he would be playing for an owner in Mark Cuban and a head coach in Rick Carlisle that would not have a problem putting him in his place. Gone are the days where Williams can command a max contract from any NBA team as he has proven that he checks out mentally as soon as the ink dries on the big deal. And for the Nets at this point it is all about getting the stench of Williams off of them.
When Mikhail Prokohrov purchased the Nets in 2010, he vowed to build a champion in five years. Prokohrov is not afraid of spending the money, but he overpaid for players such as Williams and a high-priced player is not always a good one. The Nets are trying to remove themselves from paying a large luxury-tax bill to the NBA for a team that has to sneak into the NBA Playoffs instead of contending for a title. The Williams contract should be a lesson to Prokohrov, Nets general manager Billy King and anyone that calls themselves a basketball fan; that unless you’re team is signing LeBron James, there is no such thing as a quick fix in the current NBA.