Deron Williams turns down extension with Nets, may not be leaving

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Deron Williams is going to become a free agent. But that doesn’t mean he will not lead the team into Brooklyn next season — it’s just all about the money.

On the face of it this certainly does sound dire — the agent for Williams has told the Bergen Record that his client will not sign an extension with the Nets and plans to become a free agent.

“Deron will not be signing the extension,” Jeff Schwartz told The Record this afternoon. “Based on the new rules it doesn’t make any sense for him to sign the extension. It has nothing to do with how much he likes New Jersey. Because of the rules, he’s going to play the season out and probably opt out of his deal….”

According to the new rules, Williams can get a two-year extension from the Nets for roughly $39 million that would be tacked on to the two years, $31 million he has remaining on his deal. If Williams opts out after the season, he could get five years, and about $101 million from the Nets or four years and $73 million from another team.

He had to opt out to get the bigger payday. It’s all about the money.

Well, not all. This does put pressure on the Nets to build a team that Williams thinks can compete in the East — there will be no shortage of teams willing to pay him the $73 million if he wants to leave. And considering he will get a fifth year somewhere (barring a catastrophic injury) likely worth at least $15 million, he’s really leaving closer to $13 million (or $2.6 million a season) to go elsewhere. That may be worth it for the chance to win.

But if the Nets find another key piece — Dwight Howard would be ideal — you can bet Williams will re-sign with the Nets. Just as a free agent.