NBA Free Agents 2012: Why Deron Williams Will Re-Sign with New Jersey Nets

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NBA Free Agents 2012: Why Deron Williams Will Re-Sign with New Jersey Nets
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The Nets are moving to New York next season, but does Deron Williams want to be a part of it?

As of now, the signs are pointing to no. The most likely scenario is him exercising his opt-out clause which will make him a free agent this summer.  

The Nets obviously want him to stay, but after failing to acquire Dwight Howard before the trade deadline, it's hard to see what talent they could acquire to please Williams enough to remain with the team.

Even with all of these factors, I do believe Williams will be a Brooklyn Net next season. His biggest issue is the team's lack of budding stars. This is something the Nets need to change if they want Williams to suit up for them next year, and I think they have the capabilities of doing so.

It won't be easy, but if the Nets are lucky in the draft this year and add some pieces in free agency, they could shape a solid team that could entice Williams to move into shiny new arena in Brooklyn.

As of right now, the Nets could very well be looking at a situation where only four players are under contract at the start of free agency (Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams and Marshon Brooks). The Nets will most likely look to retain big men Brook Lopez (restricted free agent) and Kris Humphries (unrestricted), assuming Lopez does not receive any offer sheets from other teams that are too expensive.  

Gerald Wallace, who the Nets recently acquired at the trade deadline, may or may not opt in for another year to play on the Nets. New Jersey should be worried about an opt-in, not because they don't think Wallace can still play, but because an opt-in would mean his salary would be $9.5 million for next season, a bit too high for an aging Wallace. If he chooses to stay with the Nets, they may look to deal him to free up cap room for Williams and other free agents.

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Humphries, Lopez and Brooks would make a solid core for Williams, but nothing too appealing. However, the Nets would still be lacking a lot of depth, which is part of why they have been so bad this season. One solution for this would be the draft this summer, where the Nets could potentially have two first-round picks in a talented draft class.  

There is a slight problem though. One of those first-round picks has a pretty good chance of landing in Portland's hands thanks to the Gerald Wallace deal I mentioned earlier. The only way the Nets keep it is if it's a top three pick, which all falls in the hands of the ping pong balls during the Draft Lottery. 

Let's say the Nets do get that top-three pick. They are looking at getting either Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Davis and Robinson would be valuable big men who could make re-signing Humphries optional and pair nicely with Lopez, who is much more of an offensive center than a defensive or rebounding one.  Kidd-Gilchrist would also give the Nets a much needed small forward and if Wallace opts in, this would all but cement a trade sending him elsewhere.

The Nets would also have a pick in the middle of the first round where they could take the best available player on the board to add depth. Should this scenario play out in the draft, the Nets could also use some of their cap room to sign some decent free-agents on the market to help out their young team.

Some possible targets would be Spencer Hawes (a solid backup to Lopez), Kenyon Martin (a veteran defensive presence), Sam Young (a decent backup SF who would also be affordable) and Kirk Hinrich (a good backup for Williams if Farmar opts out).

Say the Nets lose that pick to Portland though, and are stuck with one first-round draft pick and no definite future sidekick for Williams. This would mean the Nets would have to be much more aggressive on the free-agent front, going for bigger names who are restricted free agents. Players like Michael Beasley, who could benefit from a change of scenery, are among the stronger talent the Nets would have to splurge more money on. New Jersey could also try to outbid the Hornets on young scorer Eric Gordon, who would fit the role of No. 2 option on the team nicely.  

At the end of the day, the pieces the Nets have right now are obviously not enough for Williams to want to stay long term. Therefore, it is entirely up to the front office to surround Williams with some good young talent while also leaving enough money to pay him like a superstar.

Brooklyn's immediate success hinges on Williams and Nets fans will be holding their breaths this summer as the story unfolds.

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