Blog Entry

Deron Williams to Nets

Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: February 23, 2011 5:49 pm
The Nets have acquired All-Star point guard Deron Williams from the Jazz for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, two first-round picks, and cash, the teams announced Wednesday.

In a swift and astonishing comeback from their failed pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, New Jersey also will get Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright from Golden State for Troy Murphy, who will be bought out, sources said. Murphy is considering signing with Boston, Miami or Orlando once his buyout is complete. That separate transaction, with Golden State also getting a 2012 second-round pick from the Nets, is expected to be completed later Wednesday.

The deal, first reported by the Bergen (N.J.) Record and Yahoo! Sports, represents a major coup for Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who lost out to cross-river rival New York in his pursuit of Anthony but arguably gets an even better prize for some of the pieces that were bound for Denver in a deal that was agreed to last week for Anthony. The Knicks acquired Anthony Tuesday for four players and three draft picks in a masssive, three-team, 13-player blockbuster. The Williams-to-New Jersey deal was agreed to Wednesday, hours before Anthony was set to make his debut for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Williams, arguably the best point guard in the game, had grown disenchanted in Utah, where friction between he and coach Jerry Sloan resulted in the Hall of Fame coach resigning Feb. 11. reported during All-Star weekend that Williams began planning his exit from Utah last summer, telling associates that if Amar'e Stoudemire wound up signing with the Knicks, Williams wanted to follow him there as a free agent in 2012.

In a chaotic environment that has changed the landscape of the NBA, the Jazz boldly got out in front of the looming soap opera with their superstar, opting to trade him for assets a year before his free agency would become a major issue. By doing so, general manager Kevin O'Connor has taken one of the marquee 2012 free agents off the market and spared his organization the kind of drama and distraction that besieged the Nuggets until Anthony finally was dealt to the Knicks.

As one rival executive noted, the Nets turned the "guts of the Melo deal" into a far superior talent and didn't have to give up as much as Denver was asking for Anthony -- or even as much as the Knicks gave up for him. But in the end, the players and draft picks surrendered on both sides of the Hudson River will be all but forgotten once Williams, Stoudemire and Anthony embark on what will be without question the most heated rivalry the New York area teams have ever had.

And with early indications that Williams is not happy with the trade, the Nets took a calculated risk -- but one that could pay enormous dividends. The Knicks got a player who wanted to join them while Williams will have to be sold. But he'll have the rest of this season and next -- barring a lockout -- to evaluate whether he'll have enough talent with him by the time the team moves to Brooklyn in 2012.

The deal saves the Jazz about $3.6 million in salary and luxury-tax payments, but does not push them under the $70.3 million tax threshold. Given the obvious decision to go in a rebuilding direction, the Jazz could be poised for other deals to clear the remaining $4.9 million they're over the tax. The Jazz get New Jersey's 2011 first-round pick and Golden State's 2012 first-rounder, which also comes from the Nets after being acquired in a previous trade.

The Jazz play in Dallas Wednesday night in the first game of the post-Williams era. New Jersey's next game is Friday night in San Antonio, where it is expected that Williams will make his Nets debut.

With star players aggressively angling for better markets and fellow stars to team up with, following the blueprint set forth first by the Celtics and Lakers and then by Miami's Big Three last summer, the Jazz snuffed out what could've been another long, painful march to free agency for Williams.

During All-Star weekend, Williams danced around the report by that he hatched an escape plan to New York last summer and proclaimed that he would not be addressing his impending free agency until he made a decision. On Wednesday, about 28 hours before the trade deadline, the decision was made for him. Williams has two years left on his contract after this one, including a player option in 2012-13 -- when the Nets are scheduled to move into their new home in Brooklyn and truly ignite their rivalry with the Knicks.

In so many ways, that rivalry has been smoldering for months as the Knicks and Nets pursued Anthony. It was elevated to five-alarm status Wednesday, with Prokhorov trumping Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan's acquisition of Anthony on the very day the Knicks' new superstar makes his home debut against the Bucks.

Williams isn't eligible for an extension until July 1 -- or whichever comes first, July 1 or the ratification of a new collective bargaining agreement. By trading him a year before he had the leverage of being able to force his way to the team of his choice -- like Anthony did with the Knicks -- the Jazz not only avoid the drama, but they also get a better deal than one they would've gotten under such duress.

The deal not only represents a short-term victory for the Nets in their battle with the Knicks over superstar talent -- it was 2-0 New York until Wednesday, with Stoudemire and Anthony on board at the Garden -- it also has wide-ranging implications in the chase for 2012 free agents. Will Williams stay in New Jersey, buy into the Brooklyn mystique, and try to topple the Knicks' star tandem of Stoudemire and Anthony by serving as a magnet for future free agents? Will he decline to sign an extension and try to force his way to the Knicks? Does his presence on the Nets virtually assure that fellow star point guard Chris Paul will make his summer wedding toast come true by joining Stoudemire and Anthony in New York in 2012? Whom does Dwight Howard team up with when his free-agent clock starts ticking? The Lakers, Knicks, or Nets?

Only this is for sure: The floodgates pushed ajar by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh last summer have blown wide open.


Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 7:33 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

I hope CP3 stays in New Orleans. I don't want to see what is happening. All the talent is migrating to a few teams. It could spell disaster for small market teams. The more talent that is shuffled to big market cities the more other talented players are gonna want to go there and leave smaller teams with nothing. Th league needs to do something before some teams are going bankrupt.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 7:26 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

He is a good point guard true, but did you see the game against Chicago when Jerry Sloan quit? Rose worked Deron bad

To Williams' defense, Rose is extremely hard for anyone to guard. Offensively the guy is pretty amazing for how young he is.

Since: Aug 20, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2011 7:23 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

The  NBA situation is a mess. What the league should do but won't is put 4 teams
each in LA, NY, Miami, and Chicago since those are the only cities anyone wants
to play in. Let them travel around the country and play in other cities for entertainment
purposes, and they can fight to be top dog in those cities.

Since that won't happen, the owner's should lock the players out for as long as it takes,
sacrifice next season if need be. Hard salary cap, franchise tag, contraction of 4 teams are
must haves if they want a competitive league and not the nonsense that exists now.
The owner's of mid-size to small market teams are nothing but farm clubs for the big
cities now.

I don't understand these players. They all make enough money to live wherever they
want in the offseason. They are all on the road 50% of the time during the season,
yet all the stars start bitching if they can't play in the above mention cities. (Add
Boston to the list due to their legacy).

Owner' band together and take back this league.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 7:13 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Just a couple of general comments about players and leagues and what I've read through the years.  And this thread seems to be as good as any to use as a starting point.

1. The myth that players should be able to dictate where they work because we all do is nonsense.  Sure, if you're a low level "player", i.e. a clerk, individual contributing engineer (like I am), whatever, then yes, you get to pick where you live and work, as long as there is a job for you.  But once you become more and more valuable to your company, whether you're a program manager or ball player, then yes, the company DOES dictate where you work and live.  My company has international relationships.  Now, I don't get "asked" to travel abroad, but I know plenty of higher level personnel that do get "asked" to travel and spend up to months in places like Britain, China, India, even Brazil.  Sounds great, right?  But no they really don't have a choice and many of these people have families.  Say you start working at a Ralphs in SoCal.  You dictate where you live, etc.  Then you progress to running the place.  Good for you.  Now they want to open a new store 60 miles away and they want YOU to open and run the place.  What do you do?

So, no, when you become extremely valuable to your company, and until you own the place, you don't have as much flexibility in where you work and live.  Thats the real world.

2. The NBA has ALWAYS been about the players and its ALWAYS been about a few "haves" and a lot of "have nots".  My Sixers used to be a "have" 30 years ago because they bought a bunch of ABA all stars from teams being shaken down by the NBA because they wanted to join the league.  They bought guys like Erving, Caldwell Jones, Bobby Jones and George McGinnis.  Added to a few other pieces and they went from being the worst team ever (9-73) to being a contender.  THEN, when that wasn't enough, they bought Moses Malone from Houston (back then a "have not") and had one of the best teams ever.  Now?  Well, they're definitely a "have not".  League has always been about lopsided trades, bad drafting by most, clever drafting by a few and lots of money switching hands to move players to more desirable locations.

So, fans need to decide if they want to follow a team that has a chance to win it all, or follow a team that allows them weekly entertainment, a place to bring the kids, a team to root for (even if the goal of a championship is not reasonable).  This is JUST like baseball was way back in the day.  For some, its a chance to root for a title.  For most, its just a chance to root, period.  And that can be better than nothing.  Ask Cubs fans, they've taken it to a new level, they sorta revel in the losing in a weird sense.

3. I think its great that NY could have a rivalry, if the Nets add a few more star types and the Knicks get Chris Paul.  That would be awesome.  As an aside, anyone else think that Deron Williams caused this himself by leaking that he wanted out last summer?  Utah is smart and maybe this will make players less forthright in their "pampered, self-centeredness" and get them to be more cautious when they have all these grade school level rants.

4. IMHO, this stuff is a special case of a glut of pampered and excellent players that have all played AAU together and all that.  Its a boom of guys like LeBron, Carmelo, CP3, Deron Williams, D Wade, etc.  And my guess is that once draft picks become more valuable again (because the guys in school are better prospects than the youngsters already in the league), then teams will use the draft more and cater to these guys less.  But this has got to be the biggest post Jordan boom of star players in a while and they all seem to be growing out of their rookie contracts at the same time.  We'll see.

Since: Dec 8, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:52 pm

Deron Williams to Nets


He is a good point guard true, but did you see the game against Chicago when Jerry Sloan quit? Rose worked Deron bad. I am not delusional I have been a Jazz fan for many years and Deron is not as good as people think. Deron wasnt playing any defense and has never been a great defender. Glad for the trade and I wont miss Deron.

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:34 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Seems like a dumb trade by the Nets.  They give up a very good point guard in Harris, last year's number 3 pick in Favors, and a future first round pick; and they had better hope that pick is lottery protected.  No doubt, Williams is an excellent player, but the price seems way to steep.  Especially for a player who may hit free agency after a year.

As for Utah, they lose a star player they would likely lose eventually anyway and brought in a boatload of talent for the future. 

Since: Oct 8, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:25 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

A product?  Ok. He is the best pure point guard who owns Chris Paul when they play by the way.  You are truly dilusional.

Since: Feb 21, 2011
Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:24 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

The Jazz could have as many as 3 1st round picks this year and 2 first round picks next year.  They have their own, the one from NJ is unprotected and should be in the top 10, and they also have a top 14 protected pick from Memphis when they traded Brewer.  If Memphis makes the playoffs this year the Jazz get their pick.  If they miss then it's only top 12 protected next year and top 10 protected the year after that.  And I'm pretty sure the pick from GS next year is only top 7 protected.  When you consider the potential of Favors and the fact Harris has been an allstar in the past, the Jazz may be taking a small step backward this year only to take a huge step forward in the years to come, especially if Williams was only going to leave at the end of next season anyways.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:22 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Make no mistake about it, Utah took a big chance giving up D-Will. But if just 1 of those draft picks really pays off, it will have been worth it. It would have been a gamble keeping him anyway with the threat of him leaving after next year. So, it was a good move in dealing him now when they can actually get something for him. And next year, they won't have to deal with the fiasco Denver did this year.

Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2011 6:14 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

One of the 5 best coaches ever? I really like Jerry Sloan but c'mon man. Even if he had won the 2 finals he got to(but didn't) he would not be top 5

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