The Impact Of The Deron Williams Buyout


The Nets will buy out Deron Williams. Four notes on what it means, and what’s next:

1) The Nets are under the luxury tax. Waiving Williams and stretching his buyout brings the Nets just under the luxury tax without even making other moves. They’ll move further under the tax when they waive two of their non-guaranteed deals, which they’ll have to do to bring their roster down from 17 to 15 players. That’s big for them; it means they won’t be subject to the repeater tax this season, and structuring the buyout this way saves the Nets over $60 million in luxury tax payments this season, and it’s unlikely they’ll go under the tax next year given how high the cap’s rising. It also means…

2) They may keep Joe Johnson after all. Johnson’s trade value for the Nets largely came from the immediate cap relief they could get to get under the tax. Now that they’re under, his shooting and scoring touch matter more, particularly on a team that lacks outside shooting. But that doesn’t mean…

3) They could still use a point guard. Trading Williams was a move largely made for financial and personal reasons, but their current cast of point guards won’t strike fear in opposing NBA teams. Jarrett Jack is currently penciled in as the starter, and he’ll need to improve his passing in a big way to feed Brook Lopez, who thrived with Williams in the pick-and-roll over the second half of last season. They could also potentially dangle Johnson’s expiring contract to get another point guard — one often mentioned on the market is Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson, though Chauncey Billups recently argued that Lawson lacked leadership. Sound familiar?

4) They still have Williams on the books for a while. You may remember that the Nets paid Travis Outlaw $4 million dollars per year for three seasons so he would go away via the league’s one-time amnesty clause. That expired this offseason, and now, the Nets will pay Williams $5.5 million per season to go away through the 2019-2020 offseason. It makes sense financially, both in the short-term and long-term, but he’ll take up a chunk of their space for the next five seasons, marking eight straight years of dead weight on Brooklyn’s cap sheet.