Sources told ESPN.com that the Nets, whose well-chronicled hope is moving out both Williams and fellow former cornerstone Joe Johnson before the start of next season, have opened buyout talks with Williams on the remaining two years and $43 million of his contract.
"It's 60 to 70 percent that [Williams] winds up in Dallas," one source told ESPN.com.
As Stein mentions, Williams is from the Dallas area, and the Mavs are reportedly interested in him in the wake of the DeAndre Jordan fiasco.
The Mavericks, sources said, are not pursuing a trade for Williams because of salary-cap space such a move would eat up.
My snap analysis is that this could be a huge win-win for the Celtics on the draft front. Boston owns the first-round picks of both Brooklyn and Dallas next season.
The Nets' pick is unprotected, but with Williams, Johnson and Brook Lopez, Brooklyn might remain relatively competitive in the East. Subtract Williams (and maybe Johnson too) and the Nets could easily sink deep into the lottery. Not only that, but in a buyout scenario Brooklyn wouldn't even free up any cap room to sign somebody else with Williams' money.
Dallas' pick is top-seven protected, but the Mavs roster is thin. When you add Williams to the mix (and Zaza Pachulia), it likely throws a potential tanking plan out the window. However, Dallas would still struggle to compete in the West, and could easily miss the playoffs.
The net result? Two lottery picks come to Boston.
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images