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Deron Williams: the one free agent who deserved a massive contract.
One of the biggest issues for the owners was having to pay players massive amounts of money in free agency.
Normally, teams are more willing to write those big checks to those who already play for them. Case in point: Deron Williams and the Brooklyn Nets.
Williams was, easily, the most talented free agent on the open market. He was receiving interest from his 2011-12 team, Brooklyn, and his hometown team, Dallas. In the end, Williams ended up re-signing with the Nets for five years and $100 million. Not a bad deal for a seasoned veteran who ranks amongst the top players in the NBA.
While Williams may be the definition of a solid deal, there have been numerous horrible deals agreed to so far this offseason.
For instance, as I wrote in this previous article highlighting the overrated free agents in the class, guys such as Jeremy Lin and Omar Asik are receiving loaded contract offers for little or minimal production.
In the case of Lin, he had a remarkable run with the New York Knicks before falling to an injury that ended his season. While he played well, Lin was limited to only to 35 total games with the Knicks. Now, after his short run, he's being offered a poison-pill contract by the Houston Rockets, a deal that could go as high as four years and $40 million.
An average of $10 million for a player that's been in the league for two seasons and who produced in only 35 games? Even though the first few years would be lower than the last one or two, that's still a lot of money being thrown his way.
This is exactly the kind of thing owners were trying to avoid in the lockout: loaded contracts to players for no reason other than that they won't sign anything less.
Of course, Houston is the one offering the contract, and they could have not offered up that sort of money. But is there any other way the Rockets could have gotten Lin if they didn't offer up that sort of money? Probably not.
Now, Lin is just the one example being used for this subject. It is in no way singling him out. He was just the best example.
Owners wanted to avoid massive contracts on a consistent basis. Having to pay players that sort of money handcuffs the owners for the rest of their roster. It also costs other players, role players most importantly, and allows the opportunity to get a favorable contract as well.
This does not bode well for overall team-building for most teams in the league.