Could Brooklyn Nets star point guard Deron Williams end up as a running mate for Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers next season. Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated reported today that Williams would be amenable to playing alongside Kobe.
A source close to the three-time All-Star said he would be interested in joining the Lakers, though it would have to be via a sign-and-trade deal. (Lakers point guard Ramon Sessions, who was acquired from Cleveland at the trade deadline, has a $4.5 million player option for next season.) The source said Williams' preference, however, is for the Nets to improve the roster sufficiently enough that he can feel good about staying put rather than fear a repeat of this season, when they finished 22-44. As for Dallas, which sacrificed its best chance to defend the title by preserving salary-cap space last summer in anticipation of this free-agent class, the source said of the Mavericks: "There's no longevity there." If owner Mark Cuban can clear enough space to sign a worthy sidekick for Williams, though, then maybe Williams would join his hometown team after all.
Amick reported that a Williams trade would be Plan B for the Lakers if they can't get the Orlando Magic to bit on an Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard deal.
Williams would actually make sense for the Lakers, who really do not have a point guard to run their offense and make life easier for Bryant and whichever big man they keep, Bynum or Pau Gasol.
If the Nets can't keep Williams a sign-and-trade for one of the two Laker big men -- with Bynum probably the preferred choice because he is younger -- might be palatable. At least more palatable than losing Williams and getting nothing in return.