UPDATE 1:36 PM: According to Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse, Williams’ deal with the Magic will be a one-year affair for the veteran minimum ($1.36 million).
11:24 AM: Jason Williams was a fine backup for the Magic last season, albeit one who completely disappeared in the playoffs; his three-point shooting percentage dropped from .380 to .250 in the postseason, while his overall field goal percentage sank from .444 to .342. Considering that Williams can also be a bit turnover-prone and isn’t a plus defender (though his defense was better than anticipated for Orlando last season), those shooting marks made his nearly 15 minutes a game during the Magic’s playoff run almost painful.
Still, he’s a good player, perhaps just not one built for full-time backup duties over the course of an entire season. That’s why the Magic will re-sign Williams to solidify their point guard rotation in ’10-’11, this time behind Jameer Nelson and the recently acquired Chris Duhon.
Players don’t want to be demoted, and even those that are amenable to the idea are often accepting their fate more than embracing the role of a benchwarmer. Yet this is where Williams makes the most sense, and by sharing the backup responsibilities with Duhon, Williams can hopefully keep his legs for the playoffs and offer a point guard alternative with experience running the Magic offense.
Orlando’s decision to sign Chris Duhon earlier this summer was criticized by many, and it still seems to be a curious use of their limited free agent spending power. This signing, though? Quiet, smart, safe. This is the kind of move that makes Otis Smith a quality NBA GM, even if other signings come with more flash.