Ex-NBA star Jayson Williams has cut a plea deal that will land him in prison for up to three years and allow him to avoid a retrial for accidentally killing a driver at his New Jersey estate, a source said Thursday.

A person with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press that Williams will plead guilty to aggravated assault on Friday in the 2002 deadly shooting.

Williams' retrial was set to begin in January on a reckless manslaughter count. He retired in 2000 after playing nine seasons in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets.

The source, who is not authorized to speak about the case and spoke on condition of anonymity, told the AP that Williams will have to serve at least 18 months behind bars because a gun was used in the crime.

The plea deal would resolve all charges in the case that dragged out for nearly eight years.

During his 2002 trial, the jury deadlocked on the reckless manslaughter count, acquitted him of aggravated manslaughter and convicted him of covering up the shooting. He was never sentenced for the cover-up counts, pending the outcome of the retrial, and has remained free on bail.

Several messages left for defense attorney Joseph Hayden were not returned Thursday.

Witnesses testified that while showing off a shotgun in his bedroom, Williams snapped the weapon shut and it fired one shot that struck driver Costas Christofi in the chest, killing him.

They also testified that Williams initially placed the gun in the dead man's hands and instructed those present in the bedroom to lie about what happened.

The defense has maintained the shooting was an accident and that Williams panicked afterward.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.