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No move to Knicks for Nets star Williams

Nets guard Deron Williams will be a free

Nets guard Deron Williams will be a free agent after the 2011-12 NBA season. (Mar. 18, 2011) Credit: AP

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Knicks' options for 2012 free agency may have just decreased by one.

Deron Williams on Monday said his plan "is to stay" with the Nets, and he put the likelihood that he will be in Brooklyn to open Barclays Center Arena in a Nets uniform next season at "90 percent."

As for a move to the Knicks? "That would be very, very unlikely," he said. The closest Williams will get to the Garden, it seems, is the SoHo flat he will live in this season.

Williams made the comments during an in-studio guest appearance on WFAN's Benigno and Roberts show. Last week, Williams informed the Nets that he will not sign a contract extension and instead will opt out of his contract and become a free agent after this season. As he explained it, the new collective-bargaining agreement gives players more motivation to opt out rather than sign extensions.

The owners wanted restrictions on contract extensions, so the new agreement, which is expected to be completed by Wednesday, will limit a player to a maximum of three years, including whatever is remaining on his current deal (not including the 2011-12 season). In Williams' case, he'd be able to sign for only two more years for about $40 million in addition to the two years and $31 million left on his current deal. As a free agent, he could get a five-year, $100-million deal with the Nets or a four-year, $72-million deal from another team.

"That's what it was," Williams said. "Financially, it makes sense for me to opt out. There's no reason for me to sign now. Barring injury, I should be able to make that money back. It has nothing to do with the Nets . . . My preference would be to stay here for the future. We'll just see how it goes."

The Nets landed Williams, a two-time All-Star, the day before the trade deadline last February, a day after losing out to the Knicks for Carmelo Anthony. But Williams appeared in only 12 games with the Nets because of a wrist injury. Nevertheless, the franchise, which is moving to Brooklyn next season, hopes to build around him. Nets general manager Billy King also has Magic center Dwight Howard on his radar.

Williams made it clear that much of his decision will be based on what the franchise does to upgrade the roster.

"Hopefully, we can get some good talent to where I can stay," he said.

The Knicks were surprised by the Williams deal last season -- if they had balked on overpaying for Anthony, Williams might have wound up a Knick -- but Chris Paul's name has long been connected to them and he remains a priority.

But landing Paul and completing a triumvirate with Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire will be tricky for the Knicks, who spent almost all of their assets in the Anthony trade. They also have less space than the maximum salary to offer Paul as a free agent.

Amar'e, Billups not here. Four more Knicks showed up at MSG Training Center Monday -- second-year players Landry Fields and Andy Rautins and rookies Iman Shumpert and Josh Harrellson -- to join Anthony and Toney Douglas for precamp workouts. Stoudemire has remained in Miami to continue working out with his personal trainer and Chauncey Billups still is at his home in suburban Denver. Both are expected to arrive Wednesday. Training camp begins Friday.

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