In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Mo Williams has agreed to a one-year, $3.75 million deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. This comes after weeks of relative silence from the Portland Trail Blazers regarding their interest in retaining the veteran point guard. Already with a 15-man roster, the Trail Blazers were smart to remain idle and let Williams walk.
Until recently, the Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks were considered the veteran guard’s only potential landing spots. Despite not being allowed to carry more than 15 payers, Portland would still have been eligible to sign Williams if they opted to release Will Barton to free up a roster spot.
But this decision to part with last year’s backup guard was the right move by the Blazers’ front office. An attempt to bring back Williams would have come at the cost of losing a viable young prospect in Barton and would have created even more roster uncertainty as training camp approaches.
Despite great success with the team last season as their lone bright spot off the bench, Williams, in the twilight of his career, was uncertain to return to the roster as soon as the team was eliminated from last year’s playoffs. After missing the final three games against the San Antonio Spurs, Williams’ status as a free agent raised the question of whether Portland was willing to bid a substantial sum in order to retain him.
Last year, the Trail Blazer’s bench was somewhat of a disaster outside of Williams and many fans cringed at the possibility of losing their only capable offensive substitute. However, the signing of Steve Blake provides a serviceable replacement for Williams at a bargain price. At the same time, the Blazers retain a solid asset in Barton, who may be a vital part of the rotation as next season approaches.
Jeremy Rucker is an NBA writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JeremyR327.