The New Jersey Nets traded for all-star point guard Deron Williams on Feb. 23 and sent point guard Devin Harris and rookie Derrick Favors packing to the Utah Jazz. The Nets also shipped out their first-round draft pick this year to the Jazz in the deal as well as Golden State’s first round pick in 2012 and cash. The Nets pick could end up being a lottery selection, so they’ve given up quite a bit to land Williams.
New Jersey GM Billy King feels it was worth it though as he said he rates Williams as the league’s top point guard. He said he spoke to an excited Williams and hopes he’ll sign an extension with the Nets, which they should offer him in the summer. If he signs, he’ll be the team’s poster boy when it heads over to nearby Brooklyn during 2012.
The 6-foot-3 inch Williams said he had five-and-a-half great years with the Jazz and the fans were superb, but everything happens for a reason and he just rolls with the punches. He was originally taken third overall during the 2005 draft from Illinois. His averages for the Jazz in regular season play were 17.3 points, along with 9.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds. He was even stronger in the playoffs as he averaged 21.1 points along with 9.6 assists and 1.2 steals in 44 games.
The trade came down just a couple of days after the Nets missed out on Carmelo Anthony who was sent to the New York Knicks from the Denver Nuggets.
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Greg Miller, the Jazz’s CEO, mentioned that he had a feeling Williams wouldn’t commit to a long-term contract beyond next season. He didn’t want to lose one of the league’s top players and have nothing to show for it, like what happened with Toronto, Cleveland, and Phoenix in the past. Miller said the trade will enable the Jazz to be competitive for the next few years.
The Nets had also been offering Harris and Favors to Denver for Carmelo. Harris is a former all-star and Favors was the third pick in the draft. However, the Jazz and Nets said they discussed this trade a few weeks ago, but didn’t pull the trigger on it until Anthony was traded to New York. It’s believed the maximum amount of cash in the trade is $3 million.
The Jazz was a contender with Williams in the lineup, but he was criticized by some after arguing with coach Jerry Sloan in a game. The Hall of Fame basketball coach then retired a day after the incident. Miller said Williams wasn’t traded because of the incident and retirement though, even though he did say the club supports its coaches first and then the players.
Utah coach Ty Corbin might need that support now Williams is gone. He’s been promoted from Sloan’s assistant to the head job, has gone 0-3 and has now lost his team’s leader and all-star guard in the last two weeks. At the time of the trade the Jazz sat just a half-game in front of Memphis in the Western Conference’s last playoff spot while the Nets were 12th in the East.