2012 NBA Free Agents: Predicting Who Will Overpay for Deron Williams
Williams is without a doubt the top prize on the open market and could be the only free agent to earn a max deal as an unrestricted free agent. The three-time All-Star will attract the attention of almost every team in the league, but only a few will be in position to pay, or overpay depending on your position, for his services.
Here's a look at the top teams that should be in the running.
Mark Cuban has had his eyes on Williams and the future almost all season long, including the preseason, when he declined to bring players like Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea back.
Dallas needs a point guard and will certainly have the cap space with only five players under contract for next season. The Mavs have only $41 million committed to next season and will make a huge play to land Williams.
New Jersey Nets
Who's the favorite to sign Deron?
After failing to acquire Dwight Howard, the Nets will do whatever it takes to try and keep Williams in a Nets uniform.
New Jersey has a boatload of cap space with not even $20 million on the books since Williams will turn down his player option and look to sign a new deal. The Nets can look to add Williams, hope Gerald Wallace exercises his $11.4 million player option and still have money to add a player or two.
The Pacers are another team that can throw max money at Williams.
They may be only a piece away from a championship-caliber team, and with only $37.4 million committed to next season and three of their best players in Danny Granger, Paul George and David West under contract, the Pacers could elect to swing for the fences in free agency.
They can match any offer to restricted free agent Roy Hibbert, so the Pacers could look really good on paper to Williams.
Portland Trail Blazers
If both Jamal Crawford and Shawne Williams don't exercise their player options, the Blazers will have only around $40 million committed to next season. They need a point guard and could pursue Williams very aggressively.
The Blazers have talent and have a pair of first-round lottery picks that they could use to surround Williams with fresh talent.
It's not a stretch to think they could become players for his services.
Could the Suns simply replace Steve Nash with Deron Williams?
It's not likely, but they can afford to do it. Drawing the interest of Williams would be the hardest part, but the Suns can throw money at him.
With only $30 million committed to next season and the likes of Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris under contract, the Suns could afford to add Williams and another big piece. It would be a hard sell, but anything is possible.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are way over the cap and if Ramon Sessions doesn't exercise his $4.5 million player option, the Lakers will be in the same spot as they were this season, desperately needing a point guard.
If Sessions leaves, general manager Mitchell Kupchak would have to trade Pau Gasol (earning $19 million next season) in order to make a run at Williams, but the chance to acquire a franchise-type point guard may be too tempting to pass up.
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