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Trade Deron Williams to Kings? Here's why

Why would the Brooklyn Nets want to potentially trade Deron Williams to the Sacramento Kings? Let’s take a look:

1. More cap space in advance of the summer of Durant

The Nets' books, while currently in shambles, get a lot lighter after the 2015-16 season, when a guy named Kevin Durant could become an unrestricted free agent (assuming he doesn’t sign an extension). Brooklyn’s commitments in 2016-17 are as follows: Williams ($22.3 million assuming he doesn’t opt out), Jarrett Jack ($6.3 million, but only $500,000 is guaranteed), Bojan Bogdanovic ($3.6 million in the last year of his deal), Sergey Karasev ($2.5 million, team option) and Mason Plumlee ($2.3 million, team option).

This, of course, is when the NBA’s massive TV deal with ESPN and Turner Sports kicks in, which could allow the salary cap to skyrocket upwards of $80 million per team.

If the Nets were to receive a package including Darren Collison, Derrick Williams and Jason Thompson for Williams, who is still owed $63.1 million over the next three years, only Collison ($5.2 million) and Thompson ($6.8 million, but only $2.65 million is guaranteed) would be on the books for 2016-17. There’s also the possibility that Brooklyn trades Collison before then -- among other future moves it decides to make.

The Nets could conceivably have a lot of room to ink some massive contracts. On the other hand, what if they miss out on all the good FAs like they did in the summer of 2010? Then what?

2. A fresh start for both parties

The Nets gave up Derrick Favors and two first-round picks in exchange for Williams in February 2011, with hopes that the superstar point guard could play like he did in Utah.

They then surrounded Williams with the likes of Gerald Wallace, Joe Johnson, Mirza Teletovic and Reggie Evans in an effort to convince him to stay. It worked, and Williams signed a five-year, $98 million deal to remain in Brooklyn over going home to Dallas.

But Williams has rarely been the same player he was with the Jazz since the blockbuster trade. Injuries -- mostly to his ankles -- have played a big role in that, as has the fact that the Nets have changed coaches four different times, among other things.

In his last 89 games as a Net, Williams is averaging 14.7 points and 6.3 assists while shooting 43.5 percent from the field. He is shooting just 37.1 percent from the field since Nov. 12. In 2014-15, he has made just 38.7 percent of his jump shots and 46.7 percent of his layups.

Brooklyn’s offense does run better with Williams on the court, but team chemistry has frequently come up as an issue in conversations ESPNNewYork.com had with multiple scouts recently. Williams has also struggled in clutch situations, and has never been known as a leader, either.

In Sacramento, Williams would be playing with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, and could potentially rejuvenate his career in a much smaller market than New York. The pressure certainly wouldn’t be as great as it is here.

The Nets, meanwhile, do not have control of their own first-round pick until 2019. Their 2015 pick is likely to be swapped with Atlanta, while they owe their unprotected picks in 2016 and 2018 to Boston. The Celtics also have the right to swap in 2017. Their long-term prospects do not seem great as a result of trying to surround Williams with the right talent in an all-out effort to win now. But at some point you just have to cut your losses and move on.

3. Retooling, not rebuilding

Because they don’t have any incentive to be a lottery team, the Nets (10-15) definitely want to make the playoffs. In this deal, they’d get a competent replacement for Williams in Collison (15.6 points, 6.1 assists), though it’s unknown whether he’d have the same impact in Brooklyn that he has had in Sacramento.

The Nets would also get Williams, a former No. 2 overall pick who has looked every bit like a bust but is only 23, and Thompson, a South Jersey native who can rebound a little bit.

All three would seem to figure in Brooklyn’s rotation. And given the state of the Eastern Conference, the playoffs would probably still be attainable for the Nets.