One of the biggest questions in this summer’s free agency period has been answered. Deron Williams decided to remain with the Brooklyn Nets instead of playing for the Dallas Mavericks, feeling that the team is doing enough (Joe Johnson trade) (and offering enough) to convince him to stay.
Williams wasn’t all about money, which the Nets could offer him more of. He wanted to see the Nets make moves, even if they don’t involve Dwight Howard, which now they can’t because of cap space, to show that this team is heading towards a brighter, playoff-y future. Getting Joe Johnson via trade with the Atlanta Hawks, re-signing Gerald Wallace and even bringing in Reggie Evans was good enough for Williams. The five-year, $98 million contract wasn’t bad either, while the Mavs could only offer a four-year, $75 million contract. It just made more sense to stay.
Staying with the Mavs, it seems that Jason Kidd won’t be returning. The NBA champion, who turned 39 this season, averaged only 6.2 points per game, the worst scoring output of his career. There are quite a few teams in the market for a veteran point guard, even as a starter, and the Knicks, who might lose Jeremy Lin (we’ll get to that), are front runners to land Kidd.
Now, the Dallas Mavericks are looking for a point guard, disappointed with Williams refusal. On their shortlist? Returning and reuniting Steve Nash (38) with Dirk Nowitzki or making a move for Jeremy Lin. Goran Dragic, currently undecided about his future with the Houston Rockets, is also an option, although he’s also hoping to get an offer of $10 million from the Phoenix Suns. Nash is also a target for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Mavs are bound to lose another player, as Jason Terry, who averaged 15.1 points for the Mavs last season and was a big part of their 2011 NBA title, has pretty much agreed to sign with the Boston Celtics on a three-year, $15 million contract. The Mavs are unlikely to match that offer, and by losing another back court player might be forced to re-sign, partially reluctantly, Delonte West.
Jeremy Lin is an interesting situation, planning on visiting the Houston Rockets. The Knicks would love to keep him as a major part of their core made up of Anthony, Stoudemire and Chandler, but money might stand in the way. The Knicks can offer Lin a four-year, $24.5 million deal. Other teams can offer Lin a $40 million contract for the same time span, paying him close to $15 million in years 3-4 of the contract. For the Knicks, if they were to match such an offer, that would mean four players with at least $14 million a season in 2014-2015, which will put them way over the Luxury tax. The Raptors and the Nets (less likely now) also expressed interest in the point guard.
Eric Gordon is going to be paid big bucks next season, whether it’s playing for the New Orleans Hornets or the Phoenix Suns. The restricted free agent got an offer from the Suns – A maximum contract of $58 million over four years, which now the Hornets will need to match if they hope to keep Gordon. Gordon himself hopes the Hornets do not pull the trigger on this, feeling rather impressed with what’s going on in Arizona. The Hornets have claimed all along they’ll match any offer.
Someone who seems like a definite mover is Landry Fields of the New York Knicks, a restricted free agent. Fields got an offer from the Toronto Raptors, promising him $20 million for three years of service, while the Knicks are unlikely to match the offer. Some suggest the move is to take away the Knicks’ only bargaining chip in a hopeful sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns for Steve Nash.
Rashard Lewis, no longer one of the highest paid NBA players after getting waived by the Hornets, is a hot commodity under the right price. The Miami Heat, in the market for veterans who’ll come relatively cheaply, like Ray Allen.