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: Feb 10, 2011
Posted on: February 23, 2011 2:00 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Smart move by the Jazz. Anyone who has watched the Jazz recently could tell Deron wasnt commited to the teams' success. Hopefully a fresh start will give him the motivation he was lacking in Utah. On the other hand he will not have the supporting cast that he had w/ the Jazz so I can see it being a rough transition for him.

Good move for the Nets too. They needed a spark and allthough Harris is very talented he is not on the level of Williams. The nets got one of the best PG's in the game and gave up very little. I see this as a win-win for both teams.

Since: Jul 6, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:53 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

GREAT deal for the Jazz! Now if they could only get Sloan back. The Nets gave up way too much....

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:53 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

This means Sloan is coming back then right?

Since: Apr 17, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:46 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

It seems the league is prety much set on a hard cap at 45million, means knicks can sign nobody.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:45 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

The Knicks are still the better team, are still going to the playoffs, are still going to sign Chris Paul next year, and oh yeah they also got a five time all star point guard in Chauncy Billups with Melo.

Really? First of all, Chris Paul has at least one more year after this one in New Orleans before he can leave.   And by the way, Felton is a better player and much younger then Billups is right now.   Billups isn't going to make anymore allstar teams buddy.

Oh wait, Deron Williams might not even sign with the Nets and end up with the Knicks (he's already told Amare Stoudemire he wants to be a Knick) meaning the Nets just gave up two first round picks, Troy Murphy, Devin Harris, and Derek Favors for a rental ,Dorrelle Wright and no chance of making the playoffs this year.

What part of a NEW CBA COMING UP don't you people understand???  There is so much that can go wrong and so many things that can happen that would prevent Paul or Williams from leaving their teams anytime soon.   You obviously don't understand what they are talking about in these negotiations.  Ever wonder why the Knicks overpaid so badly for Melo????

There might be a franchise tag similar to the NFL in the NBA in the new CBA... if so, players like Paul and Williams will get franchised...  and if it's like the NFL they'll get franchised at least 2 years in a row....  That would mean instead of Paul and Williams having 1 year left on their current deals, they might be there for 3 more.  So now you're talking about what the Knicks might get 4 years from now.....  is Amare going to be healthy and as good 4 years from now?  What about Melo??  We don't know...

And if not a franchise tag, you could see a hard cap.  That would pretty well prevent teams from doing a lot of things....  or they could make it a lot more appealing then it is now for a player to stay with their existing teams... they lose some money for leaving now, but they could lose a lot more with a new CBA coming....

Don't be so sure the Knicks are going to get either of those players... and for at least 2 more seasons, you don't have a prayer of getting either of those guys.... they are under contract to play somewhere else....  not to mention your team traded every asset it had to get Melo.... there is no more left for them to trade.....

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:44 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Great deal for the Nets, Melo wasnt the answer for them anyways and Deron will be a huge asset in developing Brooke Lopez as well as giving them a steady floor leader which is vital for this young team.  However the Nets need to swing a few more deals for a scoring wing and some role players in order for them to be a playoff team. As for the Jazz, Harris is not the answer at PG and absoutely cannot run the team like Williams did. Favors will have to fight for his playing time over Jefferson and Milsap now. However, the picks will give them a good chance to stock up on young talent for the future.

Since: Dec 20, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:43 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

This is a solid pickup for the desperate Nets. A fair trade, more even than the Knicks one.

Since: Mar 7, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:28 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

I did'nt know Jerry was a doctor.

Since: Aug 26, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:23 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

I'll agree that the Nets got a better deal than the Knicks.  This is a no-brainer for New Jersey.  They upgrade from Devin Harris to Deron Williams, one of the top 15 players in the NBA.  They gave up Favors who has shown nothing so far.  They give up 2 picks, which are an unknown variable.  They give Utah some future potential with Favors and the picks, but the Nets are getting the sure-thing.  If they can get a low-post threat to team with D-Will, they become relevant.

The Knicks downgraded from Felton to Billups.  They also give up Randolph/Gallinari and their 32 ppg of production.  They still won't play any defense.  I think today's Knicks look a lot like last week's Knicks.  They'll score a lot of points, give up a lot of points, and be a little over .500.  A 1st round playoff exit is in their future.  Carmelo has had a pretty good supporting cast in Denver and they've never accomplished anything.  Stoudemire had a great supporting cast in Phoenix and never got to a Finals.  All 3 of these teams are very very similar.  A no defense, run up and down the floor style of play.  It doesn't lead to championships.  This has already been proven, so I'm not sure what the Knicks are thinking, other than they have to try and save face after losing the LeBron sweepstakes.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:19 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

jDragon, I am guessing they have an agreement on an extension for Wiliams, otherwise I doubt NJ would have given up so much for him.  That was the whole reason they would not pull the trigger on Melo, the fact that he would not sign an extension.  Knicks may wind up getting Paul though.  They are thin outside of Amar'e and Melo.  Billups is good but old.  My guess is they are a 1st round exit from the playoffs this year.  But they put themselves in position to be very dangerous in upcoming years now that they have two legitamate All-Star scorers, and can potentially lure some big free agents.  If Paul goes to NY look out.

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