Deron Williams' free agency landing spot will reportedly be the Big Apple or the Big D.
ESPN.com reports that the All-Star point guard has narrowed down his list to two teams when he becomes a free agent in July: the Brooklyn Nets or the Dallas Mavericks.
When NBA free agency begins at midnight July 1, Brooklyn Nets star guard Deron Williams will be choosing from a two-team list that only features the Nets and the Dallas Mavericks, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com on Saturday night that, while this summer's No. 1 free agent remains "up in the air" about which team he'll ultimately chose, Williams already has made the decision to narrow his list of potential destinations to those two franchises.
Williams, who turns 28 this week, just completed his first full season with the Nets after being traded by the Utah Jazz at the 2011 trade deadline. Williams averaged 21.0 points, 8.7 assists and 1.2 steals in 26.3 minutes per game, making his third consecutive All-Star game. He is regarded as the clear No. 1 name in the free agency class of 2012.
The Nets, who failed to make the playoffs and traded their first round pick in next week's Draft to the Portland Trail Blazers, will play the 2012-13 season in Brooklyn after moving from New Jersey. With a lackluster roster, Brooklyn's appeal to Williams will center largely around the excitement of the move to the big city plus the additional financial enticements the Nets are able to offer as the incumbent team. The Nets can give Williams a 5-year contract while other suitors are limited to 4-year deals.
The Mavericks, meanwhile, were swept out of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs after winning the 2011 title. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban opted against re-signing center Tyson Chandler so that he would be positioned to have maximum cap space for the summer 2012 free agency period. Williams, a Dallas-area native, has been linked to the Mavericks in rumors for roughly a year. Dallas' core group currently includes All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki and versatile forward Shawn Marion; guards Jason Kidd and Jerry Terry both saw their contracts expire at the end of the season. Of course, Cuban's spare no expenses approach to winning and player-friendly reputation is a big part of Dallas' pitch as well.
It's fair to say that Williams has struck a mostly grumpy pose ever since the Jazz surprised him by quickly trading rather than dealing with the headache of his impending free agency. He wants to win and has seemed frustrated with the team Brooklyn has put around him but, at the same time, there have been multiple reports (here and here) that Brooklyn holds the advantage in retaining him.