Speculation about landing Deron Williams is usually tossed away by sensible Blazer fans as far-fetched. Considering our history, that is no surprise.
But can we dare to hope that this is actually possible? There are two things I've heard in the media (and we all know everything they say is true) that give a tiny bit of hope.
1. Deron Williams doesn't really like the big markets, like Howard, Melo etc. do.
2. The Blazers actually think they have a shot at him. Obviously this doesn't mean we do, but it is more hopeful than if they didn't.
So my question is, given those bits, are there any teams out there that would be a better situation for D-Will than the Blazers? Here is a look:
The Top Competitors:
As the incumbent team, the Nets can offer Williams a little more money and an extra year. Basketball-wise though, they are a big question mark. Unless they can re-sign their own pieces (including Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace) AND pick up some decent talent in free agency, there won't be much of a supporting cast here for Williams.
If they get in to the top-3 in the draft (which wouldn't be good for us!), that changes things a bit. But, championship contention doesn't look to be in the cards without some good luck and good roster moves from the Nets.
The Mavericks are hard on the heels of hometown boy Williams. They even let many of their championship pieces go in large part to make a free agent play. However, the future in Dallas is even dimmer than in Brooklyn without further moves.
Just to have enough room for the star guard, Dallas would have to use amnesty, likely on Brendan Haywood. That leaves Williams with a supporting cast of Dirk and Marion and a bunch of unproven young players. Dirk is great and Marion is underrated, and they might be in contention next if they can get some of the Ray Allen-Garnett-Kidd types to join. Nowitzki is already aging and they'd have to somehow get some younger pieces to put around Williams. In two years, this team would be looking at perennial 1st round exits.
Besides, who wants to live in Dallas when you could live in Portland?
Have Cap Space but Already Have a Star Point Guard
With any of these teams, any Williams signing would be accompanied by a trade of their current point guard. Boston is the only one I can see in the discussion here, as they haven't hesitated to pursue star players.
Nothing brings star players like "worst record ever."
Given their track record, I wouldn't hold my breath. They may make a play for him in between failing to get a legit center and waiting for other teams to make offers to their restricted free agents so they can match. The supporting cast isn't really build for Williams anyway.
They have cap-space with an asterisk. Hibbert has to be re-signed, probably close to a max. They'd have to renounce all their other free agents and make a play for Williams at the beginning of free agency. I have a hard time seeing that happen.
Underwhelming talent here.
If the Suns sign a star point guard, it won't be Williams.
Two words: arena situation.
They'd have to use amnesty on Calderon to get the space. This is the only team I'll invoke location, I just don't see Williams wanting to go to Canada.
We'll probably see the usual suspects (New York, Orlando, LAL) in the sign-and-trade discussion, though I don't see it actually happening.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
The Blazers will have enough space to offer the max. LaMarcus Aldridge, already top-20 in the league, would probably get even better with a star point guard. Matthews, Batum, and Hickson (if he's back) and to a lesser extent, Babbitt and Williams, are the type of players who would improve greatly with a great point guard.
Add two lottery picks, a few veterans with our remaining room, exceptions, and the minimum, and this team is a contender short and long-term. I'd also make a big offer to someone like Rick Carlisle as coach.
And to Deron Williams, Portland may not seem like the most appealing place to live for an outsider, but everyone loves it once they get here.