Per ESPN's Marc Stein, Deron Williams is finally headed to Dallas. He will sign a 2 year - $10 million deal with the Mavs after clearing waivers.
Deron's team had negotiated a deal with Dallas before the Nets had secured a buyout with Williams. He will clear waivers 48 hours after the buyout. News of Williams' plans to leave the Nets broke Friday, when he expressed interest to be bought out so he could return to his hometown Dallas Mavericks.
If you remember, Williams spurned the Mavs in the summer of 2012, electing instead to sign a 5 year - $98 million deal with the Nets instead, who traded for him at the 2011 trade deadline. Dallas initially appeared to have the inside track over Brooklyn, until Mark Cuban opted to tape Shark Tank rather than meet with his team's top free agency target. Now Williams is finally headed home, albeit as a far cry from the max-level player he was in 2012.
The Nets will buy out the remaining $43 million on Williams' contract for $27.5 million, which will be paid to him over the next five seasons. His contract with Dallas will be on top of what Williams receives from Brooklyn.
For the Nets, the buyout of Williams most likely means Joe Johnson will be returning. Despite being the subject of constant trade rumors this summer, the Nets can now afford to keep Johnson without footing an enormous tax bill.
While trading Johnson would completely wipe away the luxury tax, they cannot afford to lose talent. Since do not own their first-round pick for the next 31 seasons (all numbers approximate), Brooklyn needs to balance winning-now with responsible financials. But overall, this deal is a huge win for the Nets. They save $15 million for the upcoming season, and this deal moves them closer to the $84.7 million luxury tax line. After trying to find a taker for Williams this past season, they have finally managed to rid themselves of his contract.
For Dallas, they have (maybe) found a solution to their point guard problem. While heading into the season with a Devin Harris/JJ Barea combo is untenable, I don't know if Williams will be a significant upgrade. Upon signing his max contract entering the 2012-2013 season, Williams has gone into a sharp decline.
He went from averaging 19.5-10.2 on 46% shooting from 2007-2012 to 16.8-7.0 on 44% shooting from 2012-2014. Worse still, his body language and composure looked out of sorts. He put on a considerable amount of weight, and didn't care enough to lose it. And last season was undoubtedly the nadir of Williams' career, when he averaged just 13 points on 38% shooting. If that's the player Dallas has signed up for, they truly have no shot to make the playoffs in the West.
After being blindsided at the last moment in the DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes, Dallas is scrambling to put together a competitive team. Williams is a low-risk move financially, but that's not taking into account the baggage that comes with him. After enduring a season of Rajon Rondo, I'm surprised Dallas was willing to gamble on another moody point guard. They'd be better off going with Mark Cuban's one-year tank strategy.
Hopefully returning home can reinvigorate Williams' passion and energy. He's just 31 years old, and not too far removed from his days of stardom in Utah. It's sad to see such a dynamic player fade so quickly.
While he'll never again rival CP3, Williams can emerge as a leader and secondary contributor for a currently directionless Mavericks team.