The Brooklyn Nets entered this season as a team many believed to be capable of upending the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference after trading for Celtic veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and pairing them with All-Stars Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.
Despite owner Mikhail Prokhorov paying up to $180 million after salary tax implications and boasting a squad full of future Hall-of-Famers, the Nets crashed out of the playoffs, losing 4-1 to the Heat in the second round.
Although the Nets were playing without injured All-Star Brook Lopez, much of the blame for the team’s struggles fell on point guard Deron Williams. Williams was awarded a five year, $100 million contract with the hopes that the Brooklyn front office could build a serious contender around the three-time All-Star, but now the team may be ready to move on.
According to Brian Geltzeiler of Hoops Critic, both Williams and the Nets front office are ready to move on as their relationship has deteriorated over the past few years:
Sources have told Hoopscritic.com that this falling out between Williams and Nets management, specifically Nets GM Billy King, has resulted in a mutual decision between the two parties to split. Williams, and his wife, essentially want out of Brooklyn and King is more than happy to accommodate them.
While both parties seem set to start a new chapter, it will very hard for Billy King to find a suitable trade partner for Williams. The veteran point guard is owed $63 million over the next three seasons, and with his ongoing struggles, it will be hard for the Nets to receive equal value.
The Lakers interest in a possible trade is unknown, but the franchise did pursue a trade for Williams in the summer of 2012 before ultimately signing Steve Nash and trading for Dwight Howard.
However, while the Lakers have cap space, they have little else to offer in a trade right now, and the team is trying to conserve flexibility for the off-season of 2015 when the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love will become free agents.
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak Q & A: Kobe Bryant, NBA Draft, Coaching Search