DALLAS (AP) - Deron Williams, the hometown kid who turned down the Mavericks in free agency three years ago, is set to soften the blow of Dallas losing center DeAndre Jordan to a last-minute change of heart.
The point guard who grew up in a Dallas suburb is lined up to join the Mavericks if he clears waivers after reaching a buyout with the Brooklyn Nets, two people with knowledge of the arrangement told The Associated Press on Friday.
The 31-year-old Williams will sign with the Mavericks if he clears waivers Monday, the people said on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t become official until Williams clears waivers.
It’s unlikely another team will claim Williams because he has underperformed since signing a max contract to stay with the Nets in 2012 and is still owed about $43 million over the final two years of that deal.
Williams was the prize Dallas chased a year after owner Mark Cuban chose not to bring back key pieces of the franchise’s only championship team in the hope that salary cap flexibility would land a big-name free agent or two.
That was the first of three straight years of offseason failures chasing the likes of Williams, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony for a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff series since winning the title.
It looked like the streak was over when Jordan agreed to a max contract last Friday after spending his first seven seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, but it instead became a fourth straight summer of falling short with the big names when Jordan changed his mind and re-signed with the Clippers. This loss was much more significant than the others because it came so late, and after so many other options had chosen other teams.
Whether Williams will be a big boost for Dallas once the season starts remains to be seen. His scoring has dropped off dramatically the past two seasons, and he shot a career-low 39 percent last season.
The Nets made the playoffs all three years since Williams signed the five-year deal worth nearly $100 million. But they won just one postseason series, beating Toronto in seven games in 2014, despite a massive payroll that’s been at or near the top of the NBA for several years.
But the idea of Williams coming home is at least some consolation for a franchise that was reeling after Jordan’s stunning reversal. It would also finish out the projected starting lineup, with free agent addition Wesley Matthews in the backcourt with Williams.
Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki are the forwards in the frontcourt along with newly acquired center Zaza Pachulia. Dallas traded a future second-round pick to Milwaukee for Pachulia on Thursday.
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