The soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets were the biggest losers at the trade deadline.
Their dream was to place Dwight Howard next to Deron Williams and create a super team for their upcoming move to Brooklyn, but Howard shattered their dreams yesterday by deciding to stay in Orlando through next season.
This not only shattered their hopes, but also put them in a nightmare situation with Williams.
Williams, who will opt-out at the end of this year, is unlikely to stick around with the Nets beyond this season if he has the opportunity to join a contender this summer.
Why would he stay with the lowly Nets for another season, in the midst of his prime, while simply hoping that Howard soon comes after next season?
The Nets, in desperation mode, acquired forward Gerald Wallace from Portland yesterday, as they're apparently seeking to stockpile players to appease Williams.
But going from Howard to Williams is like going from Plan A to Plan K. The Nets will need to stockpile a handful more players to convince D-Will to remain, and the truth is that it's unlikely desperate moves placate him.
In fact, D-Will's already commented on this improbability. Nets insider Stefan Bondy has indicated that Williams has stated this to the Daily News: "I will not opt-in. It's not monkey see, monkey do."
Bold statement from D-Will. What does this mean for his future? Where will he soon be playing?
Check out the power rankings of where Williams will soon take his talents.
Houston is an outside candidate to land Deron Williams. D-Will's a native of Texas (albeit Dallas) and the Rockets could provide an alluring offer.
What's more? They could then trade promising point guard Kyle Lowry to acquire more help to situate next to Williams.
This surely sounds fine and dandy in the minds of Rocket fans, and it could be something D-Will considers, but the likelihood is there will be more enticing options than what Houston presents.
The Pacers possess a promising young core, and the addition of Williams could make them an elite team.
Plus, they have the cap room to pursue him.
But there are drawbacks for Williams.
First of all, does he really want to play in a smaller market like Indiana?
And secondly, would his addition really make the Pacers as good as the Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls?
If he's willing to dig roots in Indianapolis, and if he believes the Pacers can be true contenders, then this presents a possibility.
But it remains a long shot.
This is unlikely but there is certainly draw in it for Williams. Joining Howard in Orlando would be a dream scenario for both D-Will and "Superman."
But the Magic will be in no place financially to sign a top-tier free agent this summer, so they'd have to get creative in a sign and trade.
But the chances of this happening are slim. The Magic may try to make a play, but the hoops to jump through will most likely prove to be too difficult.
The New York Knicks are an outside candidate to land D-Will. Similar to Orlando, they'll have to be willing to get creative and make some sacrifices in order to pursue this.
With the hefty contracts of Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler on the books, it's not like the Knicks can add Williams like one would on a video game.
They'd have to pursue a sign-and-trade and would potentially have to give up Anthony.
This is unlikely, and the Knicks will most likely stand content with their current situation.
But you never know if they'll decide to roll the dice and make things interesting.
Imagine these two PG's in the same city.
Here's yet another team who would have to get creative to land Williams.
With Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum all possessing big money contracts, there's no space to add another one.
But there's obviously draw to Los Angeles for Williams, and perhaps a sign and trade involving Gasol could get done.
Yet as with Orlando and New York, this remains unlikely.
With the Lakers now adding Ramon Sessions, the point guard position is no longer an urgent priority, so the Lakers may look to address holes elsewhere.
Yes, there's still a chance D-Will remains with the Nets in their upcoming move to Brooklyn, but don't expect him to sign a long-term deal this summer. He may just decide to accept the option for next season and wait this out.
Why is this?
The Nets have a lot to offer him, such as the publicity of playing in the Big Apple. Further, if he does decide to sign long-term in the future, they can give him plenty of money (not to mention the endorsements of playing in NYC).
He can ultimately become a sports icon in the nation's marquee location, which is certainly something to consider.
Plus, as indicated previously, the Nets are hoping to stockpile players to enhance their roster, and perhaps D-Will begins to see the light in what's taking place in his current situation.
But all of that is optimistic thinking.
While the Nets are still in the running for Williams, they are no longer D-Will's likeliest destination.
The Blazers are a very intriguing option for Williams to consider. Despite firing coach Nate McMillan and trading Gerald Wallace to Williams' current team, Portland still has hope for the future.
In dealing Wallace, they acquired the Nets' 2012 first-round pick (although it's protected, but only if it's a top-three pick).
What's more, they already possess quality young players in LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews.
What does this team clearly need? A point guard.
Williams' presence in Rip City could take them from an average squad to a true contender, especially as their young players develop (and if they add more quality pieces in the draft).
While Portland is at rock bottom right now, they could soon be vaulted skyward if D-Will decides to take his talents to the northwest.
The Mavericks are the undisputed front-runner for Williams. In fact, they're leading this race by quite a bit.
Williams is from Dallas and there's every reason to believe this is a perfect fit. Jason Kidd's contract is expiring, and he will almost surely retire or sign elsewhere, and the Mavs will very likely use the amnesty clause on Brendan Haywood's excessive contract.
Plus, Dallas is a large market and is an alluring place to play for other stars. Williams and Dirk Nowitzki could have a couple solid years together, and the Mavs could then hope to land some younger weapons to piece next to D-Will for the future.
Perhaps they will even acquire Dwight Howard when he's a free agent after next season, presenting a dream come true for Dallas fans.
If one had to guess where Williams will be a year from now, Dallas is the best guess. All other teams must get creative to compete with what Big D has to offer D-Will.