Should The Sacramento Kings Go For Deron Williams?

The Sacramento Kings have made some bold moves as of late, firing head coach Mike Malone, and they let Isaiah Thomas walk to go to Phoenix in the summer. And even dating back to last season, the midseason acquisition of Rudy Gay grabbed headlines. That’s because the mandate passed down from (relatively new) owner Vivek Ranadivé is to make a splash. He’s looking to generate some excitement around the time, show everyone they’re a franchise that has come back to life and to get fans back in the seats.

The latest rumors suggest that the Kings might now be looking to trade for Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams, who has seen his productivity go down over the last couple seasons. The Nets would be happy to dump his contract, so should the Kings beware? Or could this in fact be an under-the-radar move that steers the Kings in the right direction some more?
Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives of this potential acquisition:

The Case For Deron Williams

In his prime, Williams was a top-two or three point guard in the league, a three-time All-Star and a two-time gold medalist in the Olympics. He has played in some high-pressure games and has plenty of experience, which would be good on a team that doesn’t have many of those types of players. He has played with some talented big men but no one as good as DeMarcus Cousins, and the two could be monstrous when it comes to the pick-and-roll. Even at 30 years old and with a body that’s breaking down, Williams would be an upgrade over Darren Collison at the position. Not surprisingly, Collison is rumored to be going the other way to Brooklyn if this trade indeed happens. The Kings would still be in good shape as Ramon Sessions would spell Williams for 15-20 minutes a night.

Although Williams has looked beat down in Brooklyn, the truth is that he might look better in Sacramento. Right now, he’s doing too much but in Sacramento, he’ll lose some shots to guys like Cousins, Gay, Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas, which would take some pressure off of Williams. That would leave him to just run the point and let the game come to him (in terms of scoring). In Brooklyn, he’s surrounded by a decrepit cast. In Sacramento, the setup for Williams could be better, which means they might get more out of him.

The Case Against Deron Williams

But those injuries….you can’t deny that they’ve had an effect on Williams, who was limited to 64 games last season. Even this year, he had managed to play in just 25 games before a calf injury forced him to sit out of Sunday’s game against Detroit. Williams isn’t as explosive as he used to be and that is probably the one area where Collison is better. The Kings would lose that element in the change at the position and that could be a problem. Do you really want to see Williams chasing around the likes of Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Golden State’s Stephen Curry?

Williams’ shooting has fallen off a cliff this season to the tune of 40.3% (although he is shooting 38.2% from three-point land and 88.0% from the foul line), which has to be a concern. He’s just 30 years old but he is an old 30. He looks like he’s well past his prime and that might be true considering how much he’s played when you factor international action with the NBA. The mileage is up there.

And finally, Williams signed a five-year deal with Brooklyn worth $98.7 million in 2012 and is still owed $63.1 million over the next three years and even though he has a player option for $22.3 million in the final year, there’s no way he’s going to pass up that kind of money.

So the Kings are faced with a tough choice. There’s a lot of money to take on in this deal for a player who appears to be breaking down. But if he offers an upgrade over what they have now, the Kings could continue to climb towards .500. If they don’t have to give up much talent, it might be a move worth making.