Lou Williams is the latest addition to the NBA free agent class of 2012. The Philadelphia Inquirer's John Mitchell reports via Twitter that the guard will opt out of the final year of his deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Though doing so does put Williams on the open market, the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement with the players gives the Sixers the upper hand in negotiations. The team is allowed to offer Williams a new five-year contract, two years more than other teams are allowed. Had Philadelphia extended Williams' deal, they could only have done so for an additional three years. Williams is coming off perhaps his best season as a professional, in which he averaged a career-best 14.9 points per game. The Sixers surprised many observers with their strong play in 2011-2012, earning a playoff berth and winning their first round series against the Chicago Bulls before falling to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.