Deron Williams isn't going to be traded until summer at the earliest. That's because even if Howard gets traded he still will become a free agent this summer, no matter where he finishes the season. He's not going to agree to sign an extension before that time, it doesn't make sense for him to do so. I think the earliest he'll sign an agreement is September. And the Nets don't need to trade Williams before that point either. They can wait to see where Howard signs and can then trade Williams once that happens if they don't land Howard.
So the Howard/Williams destination will not be determined before the summer. And unfortunately, that means the Lakers are pretty much out of the running because they don't have the cap space to sign Howard as a free agent. The only way they land him is in a trade so that they can trade away some of that salary (as in, trading Bynum and/or Gasol). Sorry guys, but there's very little chance we get him, and if we get him before the trade deadline, we'll be in the same boat as Orlando is now, crossing our fingers hoping he'll sign an extension. And if he doesn't, we'll be screwed if he walks.
All signs point to no Howard trade. And if there is a trade, it will be with New Jersey, Dallas, or some desperate team who is willing to gamble their best players (like the Warriors). It won't be the Lakers. Which consequently means we likely won't get Williams either. Everyone out there thinking we should trade Gasol for Williams doesn't realize the Nets won't trade him unless they don't get Howard this summer. So we'd have to wait until the summer or next season's trade deadline at the earliest.
Buck Foston, LA Rules