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 21, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 4:09 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

You're also forgetting Williams played in a system that enhances stats for point guards.  Trust me, I've watched Williams for his whole career here, yes he is good, but he's not irreplaceable... Chris Paul is better, Derrick Rose is better, Rajon Rondo is better and Russell Westbrook will eclipse him soon too.  Look at the supporting cast Harris plays with vs Williams in Utah, there is no comparisson... Williams assists will drop dramatically in Jersey, while Harris' production will go up.  While I agree Harris is not the offensive player Deron is, he's hardly chopped liver (has been an all star recently)... he's certainly quicker (a problem Deron had against the quicker PGs) and I can't imagine him being much worse defensively than Williams.  I love this trade for Harris and Favors straight up, let alone the 2 high draft picks and the 3 million cash!  I can also tell you that the general feeling among Jazz fans after this trade is almost 100% glee. 

As for the Jazz relocating in 5 years... clearly like the poster below, you don't live here and have no understanding of a) The Jazz solid finances and b) the Miller family's dedication to keeping the team in Utah, they're not going anywhere... this family fought like hell in the mid 80's when they were FAR more unstable and kept them... they're rock-solid financially now, there are no worries.

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:59 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Maybe I am missing something here but how is the NBA not broken when it makes sense for a team such as Golden State to give up players in order to get a player who will be bought out of his contract and will never play a game.  I understand why it happens in relation to salary cap issues but there has got to be a better way.  This goes back to the Gasol deal the Lakers put together where they gave up a bunch of junk to get a stud. 

Since: May 30, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:56 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

BTW - Look for the Lakers to now go after Williams and try to unload Bynum, Artest or Blake for him.  The Lakers need a young energetic PG and Williams would be a great fit to drive them to titiles this year and next....

Since: May 30, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:50 pm

Deron Williams to Nets have got to be kidding that Devon Harris is nearly as good as Deron Williams?  Really....REALLY?  Comeon the comparison is not even close.  First of all Devon Harris plays in a crappy Eastern Conference on a crappy team where he ONLY manages 15 ppg, 30% 3pt, 2.4 rebounds per game, 7.6 assists per game, 57 steals.  Whereas Deron played in a much tougher conference and division and managed 21.3 ppg, 34.5% pt, 3.9 rebounds per game, 9.7 assists per game and 64 steals.  Deron is better in EVERY facet of the game as Harris and Harris NOW will get run over by the other Western Conference teams.  If he couldn't produce more on the Nets how the hell is he gonna fare on the Jazz.  Not good my friend.  I believe that this will be another nail in the coffin for the Jazz's franchise to be sure.  Lose your anchor and Hall of Fame coach, lose the best 2 players on your team in the past year (Boozer and now Williams) and play in a small city with no revenue and no other sports teams.  The Jazz will be relocated within 5 years.  BANK ON IT!

Since: Mar 6, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:46 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

from a suns fan who has seen the amare / diantoni act, i say have fun with it NY fans!  lots of reg season wins and flame out in the playoffs!

Since: Nov 3, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:42 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

And the Knicks needed a PG.  Okay, Knick fan, stop blaming Isiah Thomas for the Nets pulling the wool over your eyes.  He was in Fort Lauderdale the whole time.  However, caviar and Stoli's can go a long way.  Even Steven on the trade.

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:23 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

End of the Jazz franchise?  Are you serious?  Please tell me your joking otherwise your knowledge of the Jazz is extremely suspect... this franchise existed long before Deron Williams got here (even thrived!), and being the only pro sport in town fan support will always be solid.  The Jazz gain back a cheaper point guard who is nearly as good, a great prospect in Favors, and two high draft picks who may be busts, but they are going to be far higher than the picks the Jazz usually have. 

The bigger problem is for the NBA as a whole, where superstar players are able to hold franchises hostage a la Carmelo and flock to the marque cities (NY, LA, Chicago, Miami)... that may begin to snuff out the small market teams but I fully expect the new CBA will remidy this as the league surely can't allow 10 franchises to fold while a select few thrive... but I can assure you living here in Utah that the Jazz are a lot more financially sound than a lot of teams in the NBA and will be just fine for the future, if not better.

As for Williams, I can't see him staying in Jersey... they're always going to be 2nd fiddle to the Knicks, and the talent base... good lord, go look at his new teammates... they're terrible!  And what other star is coming anytime soon?  I'm almost certain he bails on them for NY or Dallas as soon as his contract is up, and then they won't have D-Will, Favors or that #1 pick around either.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:21 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

The Knicks are gonna be the new Phoenix Suns in the east. A ton of talent and offensive firepower, but nobody that can play a lick of defense.

Since: Jun 24, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:20 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Sad day for Salt Lake City. Basketball will rise again in Utah...If they get NJ's pick from this year they'll be in the lottery. Favors could be a Bosh-type, and Harris is solid if unspectacular.

Nets still a player away but would be a 45-50 win team with Morrow on the wing and Lopez down low. Problem is they won't play much D and Lopez is really a pick-n-roll guy. Either way Prokorhov has made me a believer.

Since: Mar 18, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 3:10 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

I foresee the end of the Jazz franchise.  Maybe they can be absorbed into the Clippers with the hopes of making one decent team out of the two...

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