The worst contract in the NBA? That belongs to Deron Williams, which is why the Brooklyn Nets will try to do everything in their power to somehow get rid of him his offseason or during next season.
Williams isn’t a bad player. He averaged 13 points and 6.6 assists in 31.1 minutes a night. Nothing too flashy, but not terrible. He can still contribute and more, even have nights of starring on the basketball court, like his 35-point performance in the playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks. But for every night like that, come two or three other games of looking like he’s a lot older than just 30.
Williams has suffered from a significant drop off these last couple of seasons, averaging 13.6 points and shooting just 41.7% from the field. His defense has deteriorated, and from being one of the best point guards in the NBA not too long ago, he looks more and more like someone who would be better off and more useful to his team coming off the bench.
Of course, there’s the matter of his contract. Williams has two more years (one of them with an ETO) on his deal worth a combined $43.3 million. Assuming he’s not going to get any better, with injuries taking their toll on his body, not to mention missing 32 regular season games these last two seasons, the Nets aren’t exactly going to get their money’s worth.
Trade him? Impossible. No one is going to touch him. So what else is there? Waive him and use the stretch provision to make the losses less significant? That’s an option. But the best route for the Nets, and they need his cooperation on this, will be for him to agree to a buyout. For that to happen, Williams needs to be convinced that the best thing left for him in the NBA is playing for a contender for less money, because the Nets aren’t winning any championships any time soon. Not even close.
This realization usually comes a lot later in players’ NBA careers, but Williams burned out fast. For a guy who puts on All-Star performances maybe 5-10 times a season, paying this much money just doesn’t make sense. The question will be if Williams is willing to throw that much money away for the chance of maybe being part of a contending squad. That’s not a certainty.