Knicks work out PG Williams
New York holds exclusive negotiating rights with Williams through Thursday, but agent Dan Tobin said after the guard's workout Tuesday with the Knicks that talks won't necessarily end if no deal is consummated with them in the next 48 hours.
"Jason had a good visit with the Knicks and he did not go there expecting to reach an agreement today, nor do we expect to conclude anything in this short window," Tobin told ESPN.com.
"I do anticipate continued dialogue with the Knicks, whether that is during the five-day period or when free agency begins this Friday."
The Knicks were awarded five days' worth of exclusive rights to negotiate with the 33-year-old by putting in a waiver claim on Williams last Friday after the Los Angeles Clippers relinquished similar exclusive rights.
All 30 teams were notified Friday that the Knicks would have five business days to offer Williams a contract. Without an offer in that time frame that meets league guidelines, Williams would then become an unrestricted free agent.
Other teams mentioned as possible suitors for the 10-year veteran known as "White Chocolate" include the Memphis Grizzlies and Orlando Magic. Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley is said to be a longstanding Williams fan and Orlando -- where Williams lived much of last season after leaving the Clippers to spend more time with his family -- is believed to have interest in a proven point guard for its bench.
It is likewise believed that the Knicks' discussions with Williams are separate from their well-chronicled interest in Milwaukee Bucks restricted free agent Ramon Sessions, who is widely expected to eventually receive an offer sheet from New York after days of negotiations between the Knicks and Sessions' agent Chubby Wells.
Williams worked out Tuesday morning at the Knicks' practice facility. Newsday reported on its Web site Tuesday that one person with knowledge of the workout came away saying he "looked good" and that he was "in great shape."
Williams signed a one-year deal with the Clippers last August, only to decide in September to place himself on the league's voluntarily retired list after complications during his wife's third pregnancy.
In February, Williams' request to be immediately reinstated by the NBA was denied by a vote of 24 teams to six. League bylaws state that players wishing to return from the official voluntarily retired list need unanimous approval from all 30 teams to avoid a one-year mandatory waiting period, ostensibly so the league can discourage players from backing out of signed contracts to choose a new team.
Williams becomes eligible to play in exhibition, regular-season and playoff games on the one-year anniversary of his official retirement, which is Sept. 26.
In 679 regular-season games, Williams averaged 11.4 points, 6.3 assists and 2.4 rebounds while playing for Sacramento, Memphis and Miami. He has appeared in 53 playoff games, averaging 9.8 points, 3.7 assists and 2.2 rebounds and helping the Heat win its first and only championship in 2006.
He was drafted by Sacramento in 1998 following his junior year at Florida and named to the 1999 NBA All-Rookie Team after averaging 12.8 points and 6.0 assists. He quickly became one of the most popular players in the team's Sacramento history as the Kings' main sidekick to Chris Webber.
Williams was dealt to Memphis in a trade featuring Mike Bibby before the 2001-02 season. Over the next four seasons he became the Grizzlies' career leader in assists and 3-point attempts. He joined the Heat before the 2005-06 season, as part of a multi-player trade which initially earned Miami's Pat Riley considerable criticism. But Williams and fellow new arrival Antoine Walker helped Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and Riley win a championship in the newcomers' first season in Miami.
Williams told the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail in June that he would "like to play two or three more years" but insisted that "if it doesn't happen, trust me, I won't lose any sleep."Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.
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