Deron Williams' first choice is to stay with the Nets and to build something special in Brooklyn, but if it doesn't work out with his current team, his short list of desirable destinations includes the Mavericks, the Knicks and the Lakers, according to sources close to the situation.
Williams has publicly stated his desire to re-sign with the Nets, and New Jersey, which views him as a building block for next season's move to Brooklyn, has refused to entertain potential trades involving Williams. Yet both sides know their future together is tied to Howard.
If the Nets are able to obtain Howard, either through a trade before the March 15 deadline or in free agency this summer, Williams will re-sign. If Howard goes elsewhere, Williams is likely to leave New Jersey, according to the sources.
Chris Broussard, ESPN -- Nets' Deron Williams has wish list
Deron Williams joined the Nets in February via trade. He has been a member of the New Jersey Nets since then. He is signed to a contract that lasts throughout the season, and has confirmed that he'll opt out in an opportunity to make himself the most money.
Deron Williams owes nothing to the New Jersey Nets franchise, except to play basketball at the physical and mental level he's capable of throughout the duration of his contract with the team. If he decides to exercise the option to join another team once his contract is up, that is his right as a free agent under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement. If the Nets don't perform up to his standards, there is nothing keeping him from joining another team once his contract expires, and the notion that he's constructing a list of alternatives shouldn't surprise anyone. And if he decides to re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets -- for whatever reasons he deems appropriate -- he'll be welcomed with open arms by the front office, the roster, and the fanbase.
The future is crystal -- get better, keep Deron; stay pat, lose Deron. To reiterate the sentiment I posited to Patrick Ewing, I'll be watching this team either way next season. But for now, we are all witnesses to the raging battle between patience and speculation.