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Deron Williams will opt out of his contract, become a free agent, per report

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This is no real surprise. The question is how hard the Mavericks will pursue him.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Deron Williams will exercise his player option that would have paid him $5.6 million next season and become a free agent, per ESPN's Tim MacMahon. Given the rising cap and Williams' solid-enough play, this is no real surprise for the 31-year-old point guard. Now, the question turns to the Mavericks.

This season, Williams was a steady hand guiding the offense and avoided any major injuries until the final month of the season, when a sports hernia eventually ended his year early in the playoffs and will require offseason surgery. Unfortunately, Williams' shooting was incredibly inconsistent, varying wildly from game to game.

If I had to guess, I'd say there's a good chance the Mavericks could retain Williams with a contract in the $8 million range. Dallas doesn't need to be the highest bidder, since Williams is from the Dallas area and his family settled in this season with the Mavericks, but they will need to give him a raise over what he got last year. His summer surgery isn't severe enough to impact what teams think of him as a free agent, so there was likely never consideration given to opting back into the deal, not when more money is available on the market.

The Mavericks can afford Williams at $8 million, assuming they sign only one other big name free agent, but the question becomes whether they can do better than him. After Mike Conley, who right now seems set on returning to Memphis, the point guard market is sparse. Jeff Teague might be available through trade, and that's a name the Mavericks definitely should jump on if available. Still, I'm not convinced they have anything they could send to Atlanta to make them interested in dumping him for nothing, even with Schroder waiting in the wings.

Other point guards on the market would be Rajon Rondo (nope), Jeremy Lin, Jordan Clarkson (restricted) and Brandon Jennings. Lin was a Mavericks' target last year and it was widely assumed they'd acquire him as their starting point guard before DeAndre Jordan backed out of his verbal contract.