Report: Nets, Kings Talking Trade For Deron Williams

The Sacramento Kings’ in-season makeover may not be quite finished. Less than a week removed from abruptly dismissing coach Mike Malone, a report has surfaced that the Kings are discussing a trade with the Brooklyn Nets that would net them Deron Williams.

The news is courtesy of Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski:

The Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings are discussing a deal centered on former All-Star guard Deron Williams, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

No deal is imminent, but the talks are ongoing, sources told Yahoo Sports.

The talks have centered on sending the Nets point guard Darren Collison and forwards Derrick Williams and Jason Thompson as part of a multi-player package for Williams, league sources said.

Sacramento has significant interest with Williams, but a hurdle to a possible deal is the Kings’ desire to have center Mason Plumlee included into the package, league sources said. Brooklyn has considered Plumlee a significant part of its future core.

That a current sticking point in any potential deal is the inclusion of Plumlee speaks to Williams’ declining value on the trade market. The 30 year-old point guard had surgery on both ankles this summer, and hasn’t lived up to offseason boasts of a return to his superstar form.

Williams has slumped dramatically in December after an encouraging start to 2014-2015, averaging 12.2 points and 7.5 assists per game on dreadful 32.1 percent shooting. Adding to concerns is a calf strain he suffered in Brooklyn’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. Though Williams doesn’t think the injury is serious, he underwent additional testing today.

Plumlee is the aging Nets’ best long-term prospect. He hasn’t completely made good on optimism gleaned from a fruitful summer spent with USA Basketball, but is currently playing the best basketball of his career – Plumlee is working on a four-game string of at least 14 points and eight rebounds.

Brooklyn should be trying like hell to shed Williams’ salary. He’s due approximately $43 million over the next two full seasons, making him arguably the worst contract in all of basketball. But is getting Williams off the books worth losing Plumlee? GM Billy King is an unenviable position in these talks as long as Sacramento insists Plumlee is included in a trade for Williams.

The Kings want to win now, and zealous owner Vivek Ranadivé is known to covet star players. But Williams is a shell of the force he was several years ago, and his contract only makes him a less attractive commodity. It makes sense that Sacramento wants Plumlee, too, then – there’s no guarantee Williams will be an on-court upgrade, and he’ll only further the Kings’ relative financial clutter.

Should a team really be comfortable committing approximately $52 million to Williams, DeMarcus Cousins, and Rudy Gay in 2016-2017? Certainly not under a salary cap anywhere near this season’s, but its set to dramatically spike two years from now as a result of the league’s new television deal. That surely makes the prospect of acquiring Williams much more palatable for Sacramento, especially if they can nab Plumlee in the deal, too.

It also bears mentioning that Collison has wildly outperformed expectations. He’s helped the Kings’ starting unit play exceptional defense, and made a far more consistently positive impact than anticipated on the other end There’s a good chance Sacramento would be better off staying the course with Collison and letting this current core grow as opposed to dramatically changing it.

But Ranadivé wants a splash, and Williams is a big name. Unfortunately for the Kings’ long-term basketball prospects, those realities could rule the day.

What do you think?

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