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: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:03 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

The Celtics put together a great team with aging veterans in Pierce, Garnett, Allen and Sam Cassell along with youngsters Rondo, Perkins, Tony Allen, and Glen Davis in their championship run in 2008.  The team came together with solid chemistry and plenty of depth.  Neither the Heat and the Knicks have the first part of the blue print for a championship game with the great talent but they lack in terms of depth, chemistry and defense.  The Bulls are the biggest threat to unseat the Celtics in the East as they play tough defense, rebound, block shots, and have inside out scoring with multiple penetrators.  Orlando is the interesting team in this whole scenario.  Stan Van Gundy needs to get a clue and put Arenas into the starting line-up if his team is going to compete against the rest of the East. 

As for future free agency this fad of putting together young superstars to win a championship will be interesting to see if it pans out.  Too few players getting too much money causing an economic gap in the team structure probably will not work in terms of chemistry and will cause a problem with drop off in talent after the stars eat up the cap space.

Since: Nov 30, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:03 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

I understand that Sloan was an NBA institution but Deron knows the game and should have been listened to by the coach. Notice that none of the "reports" actually tell us what play he didn't and/or did run? They just focus on the fact there was an argument. Just like with any 2 people. Shows how sad of a human being you are that your response is name calling.

Since: May 28, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:56 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Wow is this the effect that the Lakers have on the Western Conference???? The Western Conference is like a communist nation that had been dominated by 2 dictators(Lakers and Spurs)! Players are leaving to go to a more demorcratic country(Eastern Conference)! So you let him run Jerry Sloan out of town then you trade him???? Doesnt make much sense. Utah was holding on to the 8th spot in the West I dont know if they throwing in the towel or they secretly have some plan to salvage the season.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:55 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

This is like a soap opera. A bunch of spoiled babies trying to make their fortune while manipulating who they play with. Too funny.

Good move for the Nets, this could get interesting.

Bad move for the 24 teams where superstars are no longer willing to play- maybe we should go with a 6 team league.

Since: Jan 12, 2010
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:52 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Deron Williams= piece of shit

Could care less if he's a millionaire. Disrespectful punk. Sloan should've benched his ass. Who the hell would want this point guard on their team (from a coach's perspective)?..He doesnt listen to you, and doesnt run the plays you call. Piece...of.....shit.

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:50 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

It's pure speculation that Deron Williams caused Jerry Sloan to retire.  Unfortunately for the Jazz they need Jerry Sloan and Phil Johnson more than ever with the new players on board in Utah.  Tyrone Corbin has his hands full, luckily he learned from one of the best in NBA history.  Tough rookie season for Derrick Favors who has been solicited as trade bait since early in his professional career.

Since: Nov 16, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:41 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Darn, if only Jerry Sloan could have held out a couple more weeks, this clown woulda been gone now.  Oh well.

Since: May 12, 2008
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:41 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Dabigg, the Nets won't be in Jersey, they will be in NY, and that is a place ALOT of people want to go. Why do you think all these stars supposing want to go to the Knicks? They were a joke before getting Melo and STATS. The Nets are on there way up!!!

Since: Jul 28, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:39 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

Too bad this didn't happen before Williams forced Sloan out.  Sad the NBA's gotten to this point . . . make that all pro sports.

Since: Sep 14, 2009
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:36 pm

Deron Williams to Nets

The deal is a smart deal for the Jazz and a good one for Williams. He no longer wanted to be in Utah and the Jazz in the past have gotten nothing for upcoming free agents. Williams will be missed by the Jazz, no question. The Jazz are moving into a new era really for the first time since the Frank Layton-Jerry Sloan winning years in the 1980's to present. Time will tell if the current moves will be good coaching wise and trade wise. In the mean time they will go into some tough times as the very good teams are getting better and the not so good teams are getting worst.

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