HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Welcome to crazy Deron Williams, you’ve known for months it was coming and it’s officially just hours away.
With the clock ticking down to midnight, the buzz is growing about the one player at the eye of the storm.
Williams, the All-Star point guard who ranks as the most coveted player on the free agent market, is reportedly focused on two main teams. The Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks are set to battle for his services, with the winner getting not only the player regarded by many as the best point guard in the game today and one of the all-time greats, former Nets and Mavericks star Jason Kidd.
In the latest and perhaps most interesting twist yet, per ESPN The Magazine’s Ric Bucher, Kidd is prepared to follow Williams wherever he goes. And Williams is scheduled to meet with both the Nets and Mavericks Monday:
Williams is spending the weekend playing golf with Kidd in New York’s Hamptons, sources say, yet one more indicator that the Nets have at least a fighting chance to keep Williams and add Kidd sometime after free agency begins Sunday.
Kidd, who has indicated that he hopes to serve as a backup to Williams either in Brooklyn or Dallas, also recently purchased a home in East Hampton, a source close to Kidd said.
Another source with business ties to both Kidd and Williams says that the two already have decided to play together for the Nets next season. However, multiple sources say Williams is still torn about his decision.
Williams has said he wants to make the decision before training camp for the U.S. men’s Olympic team begins in Las Vegas on July 7.
The path that leads to Williams could also include another prize. With ongoing rumblings that Orlando’s Dwight Howard would like to join Williams wherever he goes, there could be even more drama on the horizon.
How much longer do the Magic, with a new front office crew in place, want to continue to play this game with their prized big man? Howard’s commitment to the franchise is tenuous, at best. He’s given no indication that his future plans include sticking around Orlando for any extended period of time.
There’s also Steve Nash to consider. He’s the second point guard on most free agent wish lists behind Williams, with potential suitors everywhere from Orlando to Toronto and Phoenix to New York.
If the Mavericks or Nets strike out on the Williams/Kidd package deal, Nash would be a sweet consolation prize.
Then there’s Ray Allen, who is expected to be courted by the Celtics, Heat, Suns and Knicks, among others. Does his situation change now that Kevin Garnett has agreed to a three-year, $34 million extension with the Celtics?
And we can’t forget about the comeback kid, Brandon Roy, who is returning from a seven-month retirement (due to injury). According to Yahoo! Sports, Roy’s narrowed his list of teams he’ll consider down to the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors:
Roy and his agent, Greg Lawrence of Wasserman Media Group, are likely to host officials from most, if not all, of the teams in Roy’s hometown of Seattle, sources said. Each of the finalists have connections that intrigue Roy, sources said.
After leaving the NBA at the start of last season because of chronic knee problems, Roy has recovered after undergoing the platelet-rich plasma therapy procedure that Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant had in Germany last year. Some teams pursuing Roy privately say they’re willing to offer a contract for longer than one season, despite his knee issues, league sources said.
The opportunity to play with Dirk Nowitzki and possibly Deron Williams – as well as a respect for Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s winning culture – is a lure for Roy with Dallas. The Pacers’ young core and new general manager Kevin Pritchard – who drafted Roy in Portland – is an appeal in Indiana. Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has former Blazers assistant Bill Bayno on his staff, and point guard Ricky Rubio and forward Kevin Love intrigue Roy. The possibility of playing with Bulls guard Derrick Rose and for coach Tom Thibodeau also interests Roy.
All of these questions and more will be answered starting at midnight, when free agency kicks off and the real craziness begins.