Sources said the Nets will pay Williams $27.5 million of the remaining $43.3 million he was to be owed through 2016-17. They will then stretch the buyout over five seasons, so Williams will count $5.5 million against their books through 2020-21.
He ultimately plans to sign a two-year, $10 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks.
What it means: The Deron Williams era is over -- and the Nets are paying him $27.5 million to go away.
It had become clear both sides needed a fresh start.
Sources said the Nets had become tired of D-Will’s attitude, and his production had been on the decline. They tried to trade him but to no avail.
The Nets acquired Williams in February 2011 with the intent of him being their franchise player, and they gave him a five-year, $99 million deal in July 2012, but he couldn’t handle the pressure of playing in New York. Injuries certainly took a toll on him as well.
The three-time All-Star had been seeking to get out of Brooklyn for a while, sources said. Now he gets a chance to rejuvenate his career in his hometown.
Savings bonanza: The Nets will save $15.5 million against his $21 million salary for next season, and $16.8 million against his $22.3 million salary for 2016-17. All told, they will save approximately $40-50 million in salary and luxury taxes for next season.
Before moving on from Williams, the Nets had $96.8 million committed to 13 players with fully guaranteed contracts. They also have five players with non-guaranteed deals totaling $4.2 million. With the savings gained from D-Will’s buyout, the Nets will be down to $81.3 million for 12 players with guaranteed deals. That puts the Nets under the luxury tax line of $84.7 million. They did not want to be a tax-paying team this season.
The Nets also may have upward of $40 million in cap space heading into the summer of 2016.
What’s next: The Nets have obviously chosen to abandon their win-now strategy in favor of going to a youth movement. Brook Lopez (three years, $64 million) and Thaddeus Young (four years, $50 million) were re-signed to long-term deals. Both will be foundation pieces moving forward.
Brooklyn is high on fellow 20-somethings Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Chris McCullough (likely out for the upcoming season while recovering from an ACL injury), Bojan Bogdanovic, Shane Larkin and Thomas Robinson.
Jarrett Jack is expected to be the starting point guard heading into the 2015-16 season, while sources say the Nets are now intent on keeping Joe Johnson (one year, $24.9 million) because they want an established veteran presence in their locker room.
Brooklyn owes its unprotected 2016 first-round pick to Boston (Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade). Therefore, there is certainly incentive to make the playoffs and avoid having to sweat the draft lottery.
The Nets could look to add another big man, while also figuring out whether to keep reserve Steve Blake. They will need to get down to 15 players by the start of the 2015-16 season.
In the summer of 2016, Brooklyn could look to upgrade at point guard with upcoming free agent Mike Conley Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies. Conley used to play for Nets coach Lionel Hollins in Memphis, and the two have a mutual respect for one another. But Conley has also indicated he wants to stay with the Grizzlies, the only team he has ever played for.
The Nets spent about $400 million in salary and luxury taxes in their first three seasons in Brooklyn. It doesn’t appear they’ll be going that route any longer.
This has become Hollins’ team now -- that much is certain. And the Nets will be preaching youth and continuity all season long.