Mavs + Deron: Really A 'One-Year Deal'

DALLAS - The Mavs have finalized what has been billed as a 'two-year deal' with oft-injured point guard Deron Williams. But in truth, this will be a one-year deal as the DFW native comes home to rehab ... well, everything.


Sources tell that the Dallas Mavericks were always amenable to giving Deron Williams what is in effect a one-year deal that is followed by a player's-option second year. This will be billed as a "two-year contract.'' But in fact, Williams, the DFW native so coveted by Dallas in the Summer of 2012 but now a scrap-heap pickup, will make about $5 million this year from the Mavs (in addition to his massive buyout from Brooklyn) and then can remain in Dallas in 2016-17 for another $5 mil or so ... or choose not to opt in, thus becoming a free agent.


It's an insurance policy for D-Will, and he needs it on two fronts that will be addressed below.

But if he plays as Dallas hopes he does this year, he rehabs his reputation as a player and can cash in next summer. If he plays poorly or is oft-injured again, he can keep his $5-mil deal next year and stay aboard.

Why is Dallas agreeable to this, rather than trying to lock him down? Because, as we've written before, they need each other. Williams could tell Dallas "no thanks'' if it insists on two years, straight-up. So ... "amenable'' it is.


Williams’ health issues were a problem even before he spurned Dallas' 2012 courtship and signed his five-year, $98 million contract with Brooklyn. His biggest issues have always been with his ankles, a problem that dates back to his rookie season when he suffered sprains to both ankles. He would remain relatively healthy for the next two years until suffering a Grade II sprain to his left ankle during the 2008-09 season. The injury initially forced him to miss six games but he would sit an additional seven as associated soreness lingered.

He sprained the left ankle again in 2009-10 but appeared to put his ankle problems behind him following his trade to the Nets. However after re-upping with the franchise, the pain and soreness resurfaced and he was diagnosed with synovitis caused by bone spurs in his left ankle. The pain continued and he eventually was diagnosed with synovitis in his right ankle as well.

His on-court productivity dipped as Williams received at least eight cortisone injections to help with the inflamed synovial tissue. He also underwent a PRP procedure designed to aid the body’s natural healing response just prior to the All-Star break and returned invigorated, averaging 22.9 points and 8.0 assists to finish the year.

Unfortunately the issues reappeared during the following offseason when Williams sprained his right ankle during a workout session. He would miss time during the preseason but was in the lineup for the season opener. Williams suffered a left ankle sprain in mid-November and aggravated the injury in the following game. He would sit two games but his return would last a mere 13 minutes. He rolled the ankle yet again and would sit nine more games. He underwent an additional round of PRP and cortisone injections for the lingering synovitis and another round of cortisone injections during the 2014 postseason.

However, there is reason for optimism, as we've written about at Last summer, Williams underwent surgery on BOTH ankles. The debridement procedure removed bone spurs and fragments within each joint. By removing the root of the problem, Williams’ made it through the year without any reported ankle issues. He did miss 12 total games with a rib cartilage fracture but the long-term ramifications of this injury are minimal.


Williams, who in the last two seasons has averaged 13.7 points and 6.4 assists per game for Brooklyn, will look for a fresh start with the Mavs ... and not just in terms of the numbers or the injuries. As seen in the video below, Williams is still capable of filling into the role the Mavs need right now.

But what you don't see -- but hear lots about -- is D-Will as a "coach-killer,'' as someone who may come up short in the "basketball soul'' department, and as someone who, famously, Mark Cuban said he didn't really want all that much in 2012 anyway.

There is a lot to be fixed here. And the reality is it's a one-year fix, not a two-year fix.

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