Taking a page out of J.R. Smith's playbook -- not to untie shoelaces -- Trail Blazers guard Mo Williams said he will opt out of his player option for next season and enter free agency this summer, though he hopes to return to Portland.
Smith had announced last spring that he would opt out of his $2.9 million player option with the Knicks for 2013-14, and used it ultimately to secure a three-year, $18 million deal to remain in New York. Likewise, Williams said his goal is to "work something out with Portland this summer" that will allow him to stay with the Blazers on a longterm deal, according to Chris Haynes of CSNNW.
An All-Star in 2009 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Williams inked a two-year deal worth $5.6 million with Portland this past offseason. The contract includes a player option for $2.7 million next season for the 31-year-old.
Williams said he likes playing in Portland and likened himself and his Blazers teammates to a pot of gumbo.
"With our team, we have a makeup of individuals that do something really, really good and when we mesh together, it’s like gumbo. That’s the best example I can give you of our team. Some teams have a dish where you got your steak, potatoes and asparagus. We’re gumbo. Without one of the ingredients, the gumbo just doesn’t taste well. But when everything is in that pot, it’s just like grandma did it."
Head coach Terry Stotts called Williams "the best backup in the league." In just over 24 minutes per game off the bench this season under Stotts, Williams has averaged 9.4 points on 40 percent shooting and 4.9 assists.
Drafted by the Utah Jazz in the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft, Williams said in the report from Haynes that he would like to finish his career in Portland:
"For me, it’s about finishing my career the right way for the X amount of years that I have and I’d love to do it here because of the fan support, the familiarity with the coach and [General Manager] Neil [Olshey]. I love my teammates. I love the style of play we play so everything is a positive and a plus. My goal is to be here long term.”MAHONEY: Surveying the notable moves of the contract guarantee deadline