LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04: Deron Williams #8 of the Utah Jazz stands on the court during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Carmelo Who? Nets Acquire Deron Williams In Surprising Trade

After missing out on Carmelo Anthony, the Nets have shocked the NBA world, trading instead for Utah Jazz superstar point guard Deron Williams.

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Utah Jazz Press Conference: Deron Williams Trade Offer Was Made Wednesday By Nets

Wednesday’s Deron Williams trade left a lot of people looking for answers from the Utah Jazz, as most observers felt the New Jersey Nets got the better end of the deal. Owner Greg Miller and general manager Kevin O’Connor held a press conference Wednesday to try and answer a few of those questions.

O’Connor said the offer was made Wednesday by the Nets, and that the team felt it was an opportunity that the Jazz couldn’t pass up. Miller also said that his gut feeling was that Williams’ “heart wasn’t in” finishing his career as a member of the Jazz, adding that he respected Williams’ speculated desire to play in a bigger market.

He also said the deal would’ve been made even if Jerry Sloan was still head coach.

Miller on how Williams found out about the trade:

I called Deron a few minutes after nine. He answered, I informed him that we’d made a deal to trade him, he said, “All right,” and I wished him luck. The whole thing lasted maybe 30 seconds.

Miller on whether Williams’ relationship with former coach Sloan encouraged the team to trade Williams:

There’s no need to make a villain out of this. Deron is a very driven, very competitive individual. Jerry was as well. This doesn’t directly tie into that … I think it does indicate we are the same franchise that we’ve always been as far as structure. We will support our coach first and our players second.

O’Connor on acquiring Derrick Favors and Devin Harris:

You don’t get a kid that size and that athletic if you’re not drafting in the top three or four … I think it’s a win-win situation. New Jersey wanted a star, and we felt that we can build from within … Potential gets you fired, but I think he does have upside. And Devin Harris is a good basketball player. We’re pretty happy that we have him running the ballclub.

O’Connor how this trade will affect the Jazz this year:

[Favors] is rated as a very, very competent player … We’ve had trouble in our rotation with our third big man.

He said trading away Williams might not seem fair to new coach Ty Corbin, who just took over for Jerry Sloan, but that the team now has a “long and athletic” forward to build around.

Miller on reports that Williams was expecting to go to New York and had been talking about it during All-Star Weekend:

This deal happened when it did because the opportunity presented itself. This deal came to us … We probably would’ve made the same deal without any of the discussion or rumors of All-Star Weekend.

O’Connor insisted the team is not rebuilding, which Miller backed up by pointing out the team’s high payroll despite playing in a small market. Both portrayed the trade as being consistent with Utah’s philosophy and history.


Jazz Players Shocked By Abrupt Deron Williams Trade

Deron Williams' trade to the New Jersey Nets shocked just about everyone Wednesday morning, Williams himself included. Among those floored by the deal for the All-Star guard were Williams' (former) Jazz teammates, reports Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Smith reports from Dallas, where the Jazz are preparing to play the Mavericks, that Williams was in the trainers' room with teammates Raja Bell, Ronnie Price and Paul Millsap when he first saw the trade rumor on his phone. He downplayed the rumor until seeing a SportsCenter report indicating that the deal was done.

Bell told Smith he talked to Williams at length about the trade once the point guard was notified. Sources close to Williams have said that the All-Star was not reacting well to the trade; it remains to be seen how much of that sentiment revolves around the Nets, and how much is a reaction to the abrupt and inartful way Williams learned of the move.


Devin Harris Traded To Jazz, Where He May Be Set Free

Devin Harris is the most NBA-ready player coming back from the Utah Jazz in the team's Deron Williams trade that went down on Wednesday. The New Jersey Nets have been fielding trade offers for Harris over the past few days, and were talking specifically about sending him to the Dallas Mavericks or the Portland Trail Blazers. Instead, for the moment, he will head to the Jazz and take Williams' place in the lineup.

It seems hard to believe that Harris is only two years removed from being an all-star. He was a rising player with the Mavericks before being the centerpiece of the Jason Kidd trade in 2008, and immediately capitalized on that promise with a breakout 2008/09 campaign. Since then, though, it's been a rough go for Harris. He suffered through an injury-plagued year in 2009/10 and saw his numbers plummet considerably. This season has been a little better, but he has still clashed with new head coach Avery Johnson, his former coach in Dallas.

Still, Harris remains a solid player that has been above average even in some terrible situations. He also has a fairly reasonable contract -- just under $18 million owed for the next two season. If I had to put an estimate on it, he's 75-80 percent the player Williams is. There's also a very good chance his career gets revived playing for an upbeat young coach in Ty Corbin that will give him the freedom he has never had in his career. 

Harris may have been a better fit in Portland or Dallas, but he will help the Jazz as they begin the rebuilding process. Freed from the toxic environment in New Jersey, he may end up flashing the skill that made him an all-star in 2009 once again.

For more Deron Williams trade analysis, check out SLC Dunk.    


Derrick Favors Traded To Jazz, Where Progress Might Be Slow

Derrick Favors is the most promising asset headed to the Utah Jazz in the team's Deron Williams trade, which went down on Wednesday. The New Jersey Nets' 19-year-old rookie is the youngest player in the NBA, and despite just modest success so far this season the reviews have been strong. He was the No. 3 pick of the 2010 NBA Draft precisely because of his potential and work ethic, and while the production has been slow to come, nothing has diminished his promise.

It, however, might be a slow rise for Favors and, thus, the Jazz. Favors projects as something between Josh Smith and Dwight Howard (though probably not as incredible as the latter, and possibly not even as good as the former). Favors' potential is in being a defensive stopper, an anchor that controls one side of the floor and who can finish well and maybe pick up a short jumper or passing skills on offense.

Unfortunately for the Jazz, defense is the most difficult factor to learn in the NBA. That Favors is so young, with only a season of college and a few months of Avery Johnson's (loud, throaty) direction in hand, extends the learning curve outward. Few doubt Favors will be really good at some point, but as the Nets obviously knew, "some point" is deep enough into the horizon that the franchise who develops him has to plan accordingly.

Mikhail Prokhorov famously wanted his Nets to make a statement now. That's why Favors was on the table for Carmelo Anthony (a lesser player but bigger name than Williams), and that's why the Nets so readily dealt him. It also indicates that the Jazz are quietly slipping into rebuilding mode, and that either Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap -- both on long-term contracts -- could be on their way out to make room for Favors.

For more Deron Williams trade analysis, check out SLC Dunk.


Deron Williams 'Stunned' By Trade To Nets, Says It Was Not His Choice

Deron Williams has repeatedly said not to believe any rumors until they came directly from his mouth. However, when asked to comment on the reports that he was on the verge of being traded to the New Jersey Nets, Williams was virtually speechless.

Williams departed from his former Jazz teammates at the team's shootaround Wednesday morning, and apparently was still in shock about what happened, according to Jazz radio announcer David Locke.

Deron Williams told me it was not his choice. He is stunned. Declined to do interview until he figures out what it all means.    

Williams already sharply denied a report that he wanted to go to the Knicks and has affirmed his desire to stay in Utah since longtime head coach Jerry Sloan resigned. Williams was accused by many of pushing Sloan out, which he also denies. If he is indeed stunned about the news, it may not bode well for the Nets to keep him long term. Keep in mind that his contract is still up after 2012, and the Nets cannot offer him a new deal until after a new collective bargaining agreement is put in place.

Then again, it's possible Williams was just stunned something happened like the rest of us, considering this trade came together so quickly. 


Nets Gain Deron Williams In Trade, Lose Two High Draft Picks To Jazz

Deron Williams was traded to the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday, stunning an NBA still cleaning up the mess caused by the Carmelo Anthony saga. The Utah Jazz agreed to send their All-Star point guard to the Nets in exchange for rookie Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris and two first-round picks. Favors, who was long targeted by the Denver Nuggets during the 'Melo talks, looks like the prize of the deal on first blush.

But the real value for Utah may lie in those picks. Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the picks the Jazz will receive are New Jersey's own 2011 first-round pick and the Golden State Warrior's 2012 first-round pick. The Nets picked up the Warrior's 2012 pick in an otherwise non-notable 2009 trade for out-of-the-league Marcus Williams.

The Nets are currently deep in the lottery, and even the Williams trade, as huge as it is, may not be able to save New Jersey's season. Only four teams have fewer wins than New Jersey right now, meaning that the chances the Nets' pick lands in the top 10 are quite strong, unless Williams leads New Jersey on a masterful run to glory over the next two months.

The Warriors' 2012 pick won't be a top-seven choice, because Golden State will keep it if it's that high. In that case, it would become a 2013 first-round pick, protected through the top seven choices. If it still hasn't transfered, it would be protected through top six choices in 2014. If the Warriors haven't crawled out of the deep lottery by then, it would, unfortunately for the Jazz, turn into a pair of second-round picks. Chances are the Warriors will land in the teens in 2012 or 2013, and the pick will transfer.

The 2011 draft is expected to be of poor quality at all levels. Things currently look up for 2012, however.


Deron Williams Trade To Nets Cannot Include Long-Term Contract Extension Yet

The New Jersey Nets pulled off the biggest shocker in recent NBA trade deadline memory, acquiring Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and two first-round picks. Williams is probably a better player than Carmelo Anthony, so this is a huge coup for the Nets. They finally have their star player, and have now positioned themselves to possibly pick up another (Dwight Howard?) next season.

However, it is worth noting that Williams is not officially a Net for the long-term ... yet. Whereas the Knicks' trade for Anthony included an immediate three-year, $65 million contract extension, a similar long-term commitment from Williams to the Nets will have to wait until the summer because Williams' current contract does not expire until 2012. According to Larry Coon, the Nets cannot offer Williams a long-term contract extension under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Just confirming what others have already figured out -- Deron is NOT eligible for an extension before the CBA expires.    

It's probably a formality that Williams will sign his new contract, but what it does mean is that it will be under a new CBA that may include significant salary rollbacks. In other words, the Nets may secure a better player for even less money long-term.


Deron Williams Traded To Nets In Massive Coup For Mikhail Prokhorov

Spurned by Carmelo Anthony, Mikhail Prokhorov and the New Jersey Nets are nevertheless on the verge of a shocking blockbuster trade. They are about to acquire Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz for a package centered around Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and two first-round picks, according to reports by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski and the Bergen Record's Al Iannazzone. The Nets will also send Troy Murphy to the Golden State Warriors for Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright. 

The package is very similar to the one the Nets were offering for Anthony, but Williams may end up being the better fit. He has struggled through a frustrating year in which he was accused by many of orchestrating the resignation of longtime coach Jerry Sloan, but he is the same age as Anthony and has put up better numbers over the course of his career. There were whispers that Williams would go to the Knicks next year once his contract is up after 2012, so the Nets jumping the gun and acquiring him now is a major, major coup.

In return, the Jazz will get a nice package of assets for a player that could have easily left after next season. Harris is a competent point guard that has fallen out of favor in New Jersey, while Favors is the kind of young big man every team covets. The first-round picks will help the Jazz rebuild around Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. Utah was fading from the playoff picture and had few assets to improve, so they needed to start the rebuilding process.

Still, this is a huge coup for the Nets. Williams is a better player than Anthony, and it was done without all the drama and fanfare of the Anthony situation. After seemingly embarrassing himself all season, Prokhorov has redeemed himself and his team tremendously.

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