Not often does a franchise player become available in free agency, but that could be the case this year as Deron Williams is looking to bring his game to a more championship-ready team.
The market for Williams would be huge. Williams is one of the best point guards in the game who can take over a game with his scoring or his passing.
Playing with the Brooklyn Nets this past season did not help Williams in the slightest, as he had a career low 40.7 field goal percentage.
This was a result of the Nets relying too heavily on Williams to carry the team, as he also averaged a career high in field goal attempts per game.
Clearly the Nets want to retain Williams' services as the face of the franchise, but according to ESPN, the Dallas Mavericks will get the first shot at acquiring the talented point guard after being the first team to meet with Williams.
This would be a huge signing for the Mavs and would put them right back into championship contention.
First, this would allow the Mavs to get significantly younger at the point guard position. While Jason Kidd filled the role admirably recently, his age is becoming a detriment and the Mavs are a team that could use some younger players.
While Williams is hardly a youngster at age 28, he still has at least five or more solid years left in the NBA. With aging stars like Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and of course Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs could use a star player who is under 30 years old.
Williams would also provide a scoring element that the Mavs needed last season. Beyond Nowitzki, the Mavs had the streaky Jason Terry and a few aging vets provide most of the scoring.
A more consistent scoring force like Williams would help Nowitzki play more within himself and feel more comfortable passing out.
At times, it seemed that Nowitzki was forced to carry the team rather than simply lead it and signing Williams would ensure that doesn't happen again.
The Nets are still very much in the running to acquire Williams, however. In fact, the Nets and the Mavericks are really the only two teams that Williams is interested in.
Mere hours after meeting with the Mavericks, Williams will meet with the Nets.
The Nets will have to sell themselves a little harder than the Mavericks.
Williams did not play his best basketball in New Jersey and he's looking for a chance to win a championship. The Nets' current roster is not championship-ready, so they will need to convince Williams that they are committed to the excellence that he seeks.
Acquiring Howard would show that the Nets are serious about turning the team into a contender and it would give Williams a star to take some of the pressure off.
With Williams patrolling the perimeter and Howard banging in the paint, the Nets would be much improved, but there is no guarantee that the Orlando Magic have any intention of trading Howard.
Ultimately, Williams can't wait for the Nets to move on Howard. Howard is a me-first player anyway and if Williams truly wants to contend for a championship, he should move his services to the team-first Mavericks, where he could truly shine as a distributor.
Regardless of where Williams ends up, his decision will be among the biggest pieces of news in the NBA this offseason, so this is a story that bears intense focus as the offseason continues.
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