NBA Rumors: Deron Williams Opting Out of Contract Will Cripple Nets

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2012

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 07:  Deron Williams #8 of the New Jersey Nets looks on against the Los Angeles Clippers at Prudential Center on March 7, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
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News of Deron Williams choosing to opt out of his contract will devastate the New Jersey Nets.

Following Dwight Howard's press conference announcement that he will not terminate his contract in the offseason, there were reports that Williams would not be following in the Orlando Magic center's footsteps.

No one should think, though, that the two situations are parallel. Howard had gone back and forth and been noncommittal as to whether he would remain with the Magic in the summer.

Williams, on the other hand, has always said that he would wait for the season to end to make a firm decision.

It doesn't help that the Nets are currently 13th in the East, whereas the Magic sit in third.

Everyone knew that trading for Williams was a high-risk, high-reward move for New Jersey. They mortgaged a lot of their future in order to obtain the point guard, surrendering two first-round picks and Derrick Favors, along with Devin Harris.

Now it looks like the team will be without the means to better themselves in the future or the players to win immediately.

Players like Brook Lopez, MarShon Brooks and Anthony Morrow are very good, but they're not going to win a title by themselves.

Without Williams, even playing in Brooklyn won't offer enough of an incentive for stars to come play for the Nets. The team ran into the same problem when they made huge pushes for Chris Bosh and LeBron James in 2010, only to be rebuffed.

An even more curious move was the trade made at the deadline in which the Nets acquired Gerald Wallace for a first-round pick, Mehmet Okur and Shawne Williams.

He'll help the team, but Wallace isn't the kind of player that would convince Williams to sign on for another year.

In addition to that, the organization gave up another first-round pick—though it's top-three protected.

The problem is that adding Wallace doesn't make the Nets playoff contenders. And they'll probably be burdened with his $11.5 million contract for next season, too.

The trade also makes the Nets better, so their chances of actually getting a pick in the top three is much worse than before.

So in the offseason, the Nets will quite possibly be without both Deron Williams and a first-round pick, looking for some way to try and improve the team.

Things don't look good for New Jersey.