The Nets just landed stud PG Deron Williams, making them a player in free agency this summer – they may even be able to make another move before the trade deadline. The Nets shrewdly made the Knicks improve NYK’s offer to finally land Carmelo Anthony (who probably never wanted to play for the Nets anyway), then got one of the top 3-5 point guards in the NBA.
Williams was basically on sale b/c the Utah brass was petrified of him doing to the Jazz what Melo did to the Nuggets (disrupting the team for over half a year then basically forcing the team to trade him). The Jazz also were likely scared of an even worse scenario, where Williams would ambush them by leaving via free agency after next season (in which case Utah would get nothing of value in return besides perhaps some compensatory picks and/or trade exceptions, like what happened to the Cavs when LeBron left).
From Marc Stein & Chad Ford from ESPN.com:
Trying to rebound from the disappointment of their failed pursuit of Carmelo Anthony, the New Jersey Nets have agreed to a blockbuster trade with the Utah Jazz for Deron Williams, sources said on Wednesday.
The Nets will send Derrick Favors and Devin Harris to Utah for the All-Star point guard. The Jazz will also get New Jersey’s first-round pick this year, Golden State’s first-round pick (by way of the Nets) next year and $3 million, sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard.
The Nets had been after Carmelo Anthony, but an argument can be made that they got a player as good, if not better, in Deron Williams. Here are their stats:
Williams took some heat this month for the retirement of Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. The two had disagreed during halftime of a home loss to the Bulls on Feb. 9. Sloan retired the next day.
“Maybe arguing was the last straw, so there I am, guilty of that,” Williams said at the time. “But I think anybody who believes I could force coach Sloan to resign is crazy. He’s stronger than that and personally if I said that to him, he’d probably go tell me to go do something.”
More critical to Williams’ situation is the fact that he can become a free agent after next season and hadn’t made headway with the Jazz on a new deal. Utah could have faced the same kind of circus atmosphere that the Nuggets encountered with Anthony this season.
Unlike Anthony, who could opt out of his contract after this season and was allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement to sign an extension with the Knicks, Williams can’t opt out until after next season and can’t sign an extension until July 2011. The current CBA expires after this season, however, making all contract talk uncertain.
Looking for more information on the Nets? ESPNNewYork.com has you covered. Blog
Williams was an All-Star the past two seasons. In his sixth year in the league, the 26-year-old is averaging a career-high 21.3 points and 9.7 assists per game.
Harris has played three-plus seasons in New Jersey after starting his career in Dallas. He has made one All-Star team and is averaging 15.0 points and 7.6 assists this season.
Favors, who was a major piece along with Harris in the Nets’ proposal for Anthony, was the third overall pick in the past NBA draft. He’s averaging 6.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game this season.
New Jersey has been desperate to make its first score under new Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The Nets talked with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh last summer and when that failed they turned their attention to Anthony.
Just Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks were talking to the Nets about re-acquiring Harris, according to sources. The Mavericks had shown interest in the point guard in January and told the Nets the sides should talk again if New Jersey didn’t ship him out in an Anthony trade.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com, Chad Ford is ESPN’s NBA Insider and Chris Broussard covers the NBA for ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.