Deron Williams had just played in his second straight All-Star Game when the New Jersey Nets pulled off a stunning trade, getting Williams from the Utah Jazz for a package that included former All-Star Devin Harris, third-overall pick Derrick Favors and two future first-round selections.
His departure from Utah was not without controversy, as long-time coach Jerry Sloan had resigned shortly before Williams was traded amid speculation of a rift between coach and star player.
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Given how his career played out, it can be hard to believe there was a time when Williams was in the conversation with Chris Paul over who was the NBA’s best point guard.
Williams was an All-Star for the Nets in 2012, averaging 21.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.2 steals in 36.3 minutes per game on .407/.336/.842 shooting, but he also missed 11 games with an ankle issue that would dog him the rest of his career.
The fade started quickly once the Nets moved to Brooklyn in 2012 as Williams’ numbers began to decline and his playing time was affected by the bad ankle.
Still, he was extremely productive in parts of five seasons with the Nets, putting up 16.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 34.2 minutes a night on a slash line of .418/.358/.836.
But after his shooting slumped to a career-worst 38.7 percent in 2014-15, the Nets bought out the remainder of Williams’ contract in July 2015, using the stretch provision to ease the salary cap hit. The Nets have two more seasons left with Williams’ $5.5 million in dead cap space.
In postseason play with the Nets, Williams started all 25 games in which he played, averaging 15.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 36.5 minutes per game while shooting .404/.377/.814.
He signed with the Dallas Mavericks, who bought him out in February 2017. Williams caught on the the Cleveland Cavaliers and made his only career NBA Finals appearance that spring, but was a non-factor.
Wiliams has not officially retired, but did not play last season and does not appear to have much of a market for his services.