This summer's free agent class has something in common with the draft class -- it's not obvious who the second-best available player will be, but everyone knows which guy will be the top choice. In the draft, that's Anthony Davis, while in free agency, it's Deron Williams. We know Davis is ticketed for New Orleans, but where will Williams land? ESPN.com's Chris Broussard shares a few updates on this year's top free agent in his latest Insider-only piece, so let's dive in....
Williams has yet to make a decision, and is still weighing a number of factors that will affect his choice.
Although D-Will can make more guaranteed money by re-signing with the Nets, as I explained here, that's not expected to be a deciding factor.
Williams geniunely likes the Nets' franchise and the new location, and is more optimistic about the team's future than some observers are. However, if Gerald Wallace signs elsewhere, it figures to reduce the odds of Williams re-signing.
While the point guard would like to play in Brooklyn with Dwight Howard, he won't let Howard's future dictate his decision.
The Mavericks are still viewed as the Nets' greatest competition, but the Suns are another team that could pose a serious threat to Brooklyn. If the Suns don't re-sign Steve Nash, they should not be counted out of the Williams sweepstakes, says Broussard.
According to Broussard, Williams, a Dallas native, is unlikely to sign in any cold-weather city besides New York. That would rule out a team like the Pacers, which might otherwise be a good fit.
If Williams tells the Nets he won't re-sign, the team could explore sign-and-trade opportunities. However, the Nets would rather just take the cap space than acquire marginal players in return, so a sign-and-trade would probably only happen if the team could land a star. Broussard cites the Lakers' Andrew Bynum and the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony as two possibilities.