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.
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.