At one time, Deron Williams ranked as one of the NBA’s best players. He kickstarted his career with the Utah Jazz, where he quickly ascended to elite status. The gifted point guard appeared to be well on his way to establishing a Hall of Fame resume even after getting traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
Yet, everything fell apart for Williams once he swapped jerseys. Nets fans suffered through years of disappointing play from the perennial All-Star. But don’t feel too bad for Deron Williams. Thanks to a contractual buyout, the Nets paid him $15,000 per day to never play for them again.
Deron Williams quickly became a star for the Jazz
Deron Williams entered the NBA as the third overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft. Ironically, he went one pick ahead of Chris Paul—a player who has far surpassed Williams’ accomplishments. Still, early on, the Jazz appeared to have made a wise selection by snagging the former University of Illinois star.
As a rookie, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder started 47 games and averaged 10.8 points and 4.5 rebounds. With his size and strength, Williams bullied smaller point guards while displaying crafty handles. However, he did show some flaws in his shot, as he hit just 32.2 percent of his 3-point attempts in his second season after making 41.6 percent as a rookie.
Despite his erratic shooting percentages, Williams continued his ascent. He increased his scoring averages year-to-year before regressing slightly in his penultimate season in Utah.
Along the way, he earned two NBA All-Star berths and helped Utah make the playoffs on an annual basis. However, Williams and legendary Jazz coach Jerry Sloan had many well-publicized disputes. In fact, the point guard essentially caused Sloan to retire after spending more than 20 years as the organization’s head coach.
Williams proved to be a massive disappointment in Brooklyn
Deron Williams’ time in Utah came to a close when the team traded him to the Nets in a massive deal. Ultimately, the trade didn’t turn out too well.
Williams averaged 15 points in 12 games after joining the Nets in the middle of the 2010-11 season. He actually played at an All-Star level in his first full season in New Jersey. Then everything went downhill after Williams signed a massive five-year, $98.7 million deal in the summer of 2012.
With a fat new contract, his game shockingly plummeted. Williams watched his scoring average decline from a career-high 21.0 points per game in 2011-12 to just 13 points per game in 2014-15. Brooklyn finally cut ties with the rapidly declining point guard. But that wouldn’t end the team’s financial commitment to Deron Williams.
The three-time All-Star made $15,000 per day to not play for the Nets
For athletes who receive contractual buyouts, they often receive deferred money over the course of several years. Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez collects $2 million per year until he’s 54 thanks to a 16-year deferred payment plan. Alex Rodriguez will still collect paychecks from the Texas Rangers until 2025.
In the case of Deron Williams, he too benefitted tremendously from a buyout situation. According to a tweet from Nets beat writer Anthony Puccio, Williams collected $5.5 million per year in each of the last five years as part of his Nets contract. If you’re not a math whiz, that averages out to $15,000 per day.
Essentially, the Nets paid more than $27 million over the last five years for Deron Williams not to suit up in a Brooklyn jersey. But based on the latter half of his NBA career, who can blame them?