All-Star point guard Deron Williams has made one decision about his free agency: If the Brooklyn Nets win the No. 1 pick in the NBA's draft lottery on Wednesday night – and the chance to secure Kentucky center Anthony Davis – it won't be enough for Williams to sign a contract extension, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
"It's Dwight Howard or bust," said a league source who has spoken to Williams.
Williams doesn't want to stay with the Nets unless they become an instant Eastern Conference contender and wouldn't accept waiting for Davis' development. The Nets have a 7.5 percent chance of winning the lottery, and sources said the organization would be willing to part with Davis for the chance to pair Howard and Williams for the franchise's move into a new Brooklyn arena next season.
For the Nets to beat the odds and get the rights to draft Davis, they believe that they'll be able to hold onto forward Brook Lopez in a potential deal with Orlando. Howard regrets forgoing his early termination option on his 2012-13 contract, sources said, and wants a trade before next season. Nevertheless, the Nets become far less appealing should Williams leave in July as a free agent, so Howard's camp is applying pressure on Orlando to expedite a deal once it hires a new general manager.
Orlando ownership has softened on moving Howard and doesn't want to spend another season pleading with him to sign an extension. The organization's preference is to get the best possible trade package for him and start retooling the franchise. Nevertheless, the Magic will give a new GM some latitude to navigate Howard's future once he's hired. Several of the potential GM candidates in Orlando have already been devising trade scenarios for Howard and plan to propose those ideas to Orlando president Alex Martins in the interview process.
Unless the Nets get one of the top three picks in the lottery, the Portland Trail Blazers will own Brooklyn's 2012 choice. The Nets made a trade deadline deal for forward Gerald Wallace, whom they hoped would help convince Williams to stay as a free agent. Nevertheless, Williams has been largely unmoved by the potential free agent and trade scenarios that don't include Howard joining him in Brooklyn.
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