Deron Williams makes it clear he will become free agent

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Ultimately, Dwight Howard wanted to stay in Orlando and — after a couple days of ridiculous flip-flopping — he decided to “opt in.” (Technically he waived his right to opt-out of his contract, but we’ll go with opt-in.) Dwight Howard has a loyalty to Orlando that overcame everything else.

Deron Williams has no such loyalty to New Jersey.

The day after Howard’s decision, Williams was asked if he would opt-in with the Nets. At least he didn’t laugh outright. But this is pretty close. Here are the tweets from Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News.

Deron Williams tells the Daily News: “I will not op-in. Its not monkey see, monkey do.”

So to clarify, Deron says he will definitely become a free agent after the season and weigh his options

Somewhere, Mark Cuban involuntarily smiled.

Williams has kept quiet this season and not talked about wanting to be traded or who the Nets needed to get to keep him. As best he could he stayed out of the spotlight.

Sorry Nets fans, he’s as good as gone. He’s going to opt out for sure and is a good bet to sign in his home town of Dallas next season. Which makes the Nets trade-deadline move to get Gerald Wallace — a trade meant to bolster the team in the short term — makes no sense. They gave up their first-round pick. This is a deep draft, the Nets could have gotten a good player. Instead they got Wallace, a player who also can opt-out after the season.

The new Barclay Center in Brooklyn better be stunning, because it will need to distract Nets fans from the team next season, they are going to be awful.

Dwyane Wade sinks halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Dwyane Wade is secure in his legacy. He’s an all-time great, and an extra missed 3-pointer during his farewell tour won’t change anything. (It doesn’t hurt that his resumé already includes subpar 3-point shooting.)

So, when many players would hold the ball, Wade heaved in a halfcourt shot to end the third quarter of the Heat’s 110-105 win over the Spurs on Wednesday. It wasn’t the biggest shot of Wade’s season, but it still mattered plenty.

Miami’s lead when San Antonio began intentionally fouling late? Three.

Jonas Valanciunas hits game-winning free throw, spoils James Harden’s 57-point night (video)

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The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.

But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.

Report: Suns exploring signing Jimmer Fredette

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Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.

He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.

Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.

But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.

The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.

It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.

Marcus Smart shoves down Joel Embiid from behind, gets ejected (video)

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Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.

After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.

Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.

Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.