NBA Free Agency 2012: Surprise Teams That Could Land Deron Williams
This summer, a top-three point guard in the NBA will enter the free-agent pool.
Deron Williams has established himself as a top-three point guard in the association so far in his career, and is entering his prime right now. Even though he plays for an awful Nets team, he is the only player in the NBA to be in the top 10 in scoring and assists per game.
Williams has also been straightforward that the Nets would be an option if they show commitment to winning, but told the New York Daily News that he has no intention of opting into his contract to give the Nets another year to convince him. He hasn't closed the opportunity, but it isn't looking good for Nets fans.
The two teams that are always talked about in terms of destinations for Williams are Dallas and a New Jersey return. However, what teams could surprise everyone and sign him?
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers are a team of uncertainty at this point in the season. However, despite the uncertainty, they are also a team on the rise. Their team is built around All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and a variety of good role players. They also have some of the best and most loyal fans in the association.
For the Blazers, it would be a dream come true to put LaMarcus Aldridge next to one of the best passers in the league in Deron Williams. Williams could get the ball to Aldridge in his spots with a higher degree of success than current point guard Raymond Felton. Williams would also be able to be a true scorer to help take the offensive load off of Aldridge.
The current Blazers team also has some great role players, such as Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and Joel Pryzbilla. If the Blazers can retain all these pieces and sign Williams, they also have a potentially great draft pick coming their way via New Jersey.
The pick was acquired in the Gerald Wallace trade, and is a first-round pick that is only protected in the top three. At the moment, New Jersey would be the fifth team, which would mean the Blazers would get the pick. In a strong draft, the pick could potentially bring in a third piece to play next to Williams and Aldridge.
With the talent and the fans, Deron Williams will have to seriously think about becoming a Trail Blazer.
In many ways, this move makes no sense whatsoever. The Celtics have a point guard in Rajon Rondo, who is one of the most ball-dominant and skilled point guards in the NBA right now. They also do not have a team that is ready to win right now.
However, if you have the opportunity to sign Deron Williams, you do it. There is no question that a team led by only Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo next year will be a cellar dweller in the Eastern Conference. If the Celtics are able to add an All-Star point guard, it will turn rebuilding into re-tooling instead.
For Deron, the Celtics are one of the five most popular franchises in the NBA. Now it's true, he would be leaving a potential New York market to do it, but Boston is a more popular and storied franchise than especially the Nets. As well, they have a generally respected front office, and cap room
The fit wouldn't be perfect, but it would be manageable. You would have two options: run Deron at the 2 or run Rondo off the bench. When he was in college, Deron Williams played a substantial amount of shooting guard next to Dee Brown at Illinois. Rondo would also likely be able to match up with the longer shooting guards defensively, so it could work. Rondo could also come off the bench and create for the ring-chasers that tend to sign with Boston.
Overall, it's not a perfect fit with Boston, but it gives both Williams and the Celtics some options.
The Pacers are a team that has exploded onto the scene this year in the Eastern Conference. Despite only squeaking into the playoffs last year, they are locks this year, with the potential to make the third seed, only behind favorites Miami and Chicago. Even more incredible is the fact that they have potentially max cap room this summer.
For a long while, it has been assumed that New Orleans Hornets wingman Eric Gordon would head to Indiana through that cap room. However, looking up and down Indiana's roster, their weakness is not at the shooting guard position, but at the point guard position.
Now the incumbent, Darren Collison, has been a good player; he just hasn't been great. If the Pacers were able to add a top-three point guard in the association, they would immediately make the jump from very good playoff team into title contender.
Think of the Pacers rotation at that point: All-Star Deron Williams at the point, potential All-Star Paul George at the shooting guard, former All-Star Danny Granger at the small forward, former All-Star David West at the power forward and All-Star Roy Hibbert at center. That is the core of a championship team. You would have Williams who can shoot, slash and get the ball to the bigs, you have George who can space the floor and defend, you have Granger who can score from the perimeter and then you have a former All-Star scorer in West and a force on offense and defense in Hibbert.
Indiana needs to put all its resources into making this happen. No one is saying it guarantees them past the Bulls or Heat, but it certainly allows them to fight.