New Jersey Nets starting point guard Deron Williams carried a dream with him all season; his wish was for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard to join him on the Nets roster; either via a trade during the campaign, or by signing as a Free Agent at the end of the season and the two would become the cornerstones of a dynamic, young team. That dream died on Thursday, as Howard signed a document obligating him to honor the final year of his current contract, which will delay him having to make a long-term decision for another year.
With Howard deciding to put off testing the Free Agent waters until the Summer of 2013, will the All-Star guard from New Jersey follow his friend’s example and play under the final year of his current contract next season? According to a report from “USA Today” Williams will still opt-out of the final year of his contract and see what Free Agency has to offer after the campaign comes to an end.
Williams spoke to reporters on Friday at the shoot-around before New Jersey played the Magic on Friday night. He said “It’s not monkey see, monkey do. I want to get settled somewhere. … I have kids. I want to get them settled in school somewhere. … That’s the only thing that weighs on me.”
He also has an entirely different relationship with the Nets and their fans than Howard does with the Magic and its fan base. Howard has played for the Magic his entire career in the Association, coming to the team right out of high school as Orlando selected him with the number one pick in the NBA Draft. He helped lead his team to the NBA Finals in 2009, although they were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA Title. The Orlando center grew up playing for the team, which is why it is so difficult for him to leave.
Williams has been with New Jersey for just over a year, as he was traded from the Utah Jazz last February for a parcel of young talented players. His first campaign with the club ended at the conclusion of the regular season and it seems the team will follow suit once again this year. The Nets did trade for Portland Trail Blazers small forward Gerald Wallace on Thursday to help Williams with the scoring duties; but will he and Brook Lopez be enough enticement to follow the team to Brooklyn next season when it relocates? At this point Williams probably is still figuring that out for himself, now that he woke up from his dream and is faced with reality.