The free agent class of 2012 has a new number one guy and yes, it’s still a superstar. Friday morning Deron Williams told reporters, including Stefan Bondy with the New York Daily News that he would be hitting the open market this offseason.
“I’m not going to opt-in. It’s not monkey-see, monkey-do,” Williams told the Daily News. “Wherever I go is hopefully where I’m going to retire.”
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise after Dwight Howard decided to opt-in to the final year of his contract. We never got a sense Williams was ever thinking about opting in, but what incentive does he have to stick around to play with Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez? There are incentives for him to stay in soon to be Brooklyn. As Bondy points out, opting out will allow Williams to sign a five year deal with the Nets, but only a four year deal with a lower percentage of raises for any other team he signs with. The Nets will also have some room to sign another guy besides Williams this summer and have a ton of cap space in 2013 when guys like Josh Smith are available. A core of Williams, Lopez and someone like Smith is a core you can contend with in the east and I’m sure the Nets’ brass will try to convince Williams of that point.
Still, playing in his hometown of Dallas with Dirk Nowitzki and whatever other wizardry Mark Cuban comes up with will be appealing and don’t rule out Portland, who cleared a ton of space by shipping out Gerald Wallace and will most likely have two lottery picks, one of them ironically enough could be the Nets’ pick. Stay tuned, the Deron Williams sweepstakes is heating up.