Despite plenty of discussion in the early offseason of the possibility that the Brooklyn Nets could seek to buy out the contract of embattled point guard Deron Williams, general manager Billy King has outwardly shut down the speculation.
When asked about the situation earlier in the week by Newsday, King was straightforward, replying “No.”
“The goal is to try to be under the [luxury] tax,” King added. “That’s just the goal. How realistic? It may not be. If we end up being over the tax, so be it. We’re not going to jeopardize our roster, jeopardize the team just to be under the tax. If a decision is made to make the team better than we’ll do that.”
Williams, who signed a 5-year/$98 million contract with the Nets in 2012, has two years and just north of $43 million remaining on his deal, with the 2016-2017 season containing an early termination option. But after last season in which the former All Star compiled averages of only 13 points, 6.6 assists per game while shooting a career low 38.7 percent from the field, it’s become clear that the organization is ready to move in a different direction.
And while most Nets fans are desperate to see Williams’ inflated contract come off the books as soon as possible, King’s decision to refrain from going the buyout route is the correct one.
By a long shot.
Although the Nets may not see the sense in continuing to hold out the false hope that Williams will return to the elite form he had in Utah, paying him outright to play for another team –when the magnitude of the contract is already the prime issue – would be the equivalent of drinking spoiled milk because going to the store and getting a fresh gallon would be more time-consuming.
Their patience will be tested, but if Brooklyn could acquire some quality assets in a deal for Williams this offseason or even later, it would certainly be worth the wait. What better way to rebuild a franchise struggling financially than through a trade for some young piece(s)/experienced veteran(s) that could play a vital role in turning things around?
It’s not as though Williams is all but washed up. He can still impress from time-to-time, but this Brooklyn thing definitely hasn’t been the match both sides originally expected.
And as far as why Williams and shooting guard Joe Johnson were not mentioned in a letter recently sent out to season ticket holders by the front office?
“Within that letter, I think people made a big deal because we didn’t mention Joe and Deron’s name,” King said. “But I think in doing so we talked about Brook [Lopez] and Thaddeus [Young], trying to retain them because they were free agents. We talked about some of our younger guys because we didn’t know coming in how successful they would be in the NBA.
“So I guess we were sort of saying, we know these guys can play in the league. We weren’t trying to slight Deron and Joe. We know what they have and what they bring to the table.”
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