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Utah’s Deron Williams traded to Nets in surprising deal

Feb 23, 2011, 11:12 AM EDT

Utah Jazz v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

In a move that has flown under the radar like a stealth bomber about to unload its payload on an unsuspecting NBA, the New Jersey Nets have acquired Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz.

This is a deal that would send D-Will — one of the game’s best point guards — to the Nets. Derrick Favors and Devin Harris (who Dallas had been going hard after) plus two first-round picks will go to the Jazz. Parallel to this deal, the Nets will send Troy Murphy to Golden State, and Warriors send Dan Gadzuric to Nets, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. He reports the deal is done. (Al Iannazzone of the Bergen Record was first with the news.)

Willaims told one Salt Lake based reporter (David Locke)  that he was stunned and did not ask for this, but did not answer questions.

Favors has been pulled out of Nets practice this morning and reportedly was told he was traded, and now multiple sources have confirmed this deal as going down.

It is a brilliant move by the Nets and owner Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who stayed in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes to drive up the Knicks price then turned around and got the better player in a good deal.

This move gives the Nets the star they craved in a trade that is similar to the one they could not complete for  Anthony with the Nuggets. It also is the Nets and Prokhorov taking one of the rumored targets of the Knicks in the summer of 2012 (although the Knicks have always preferred Chris Paul).

Williams can opt out of his contract at the end of the 2012 season, and you can bet the Nets want to offer him an extension. However, according to the current CBA the Nets would have to wait several months before starting extension talks, to a date after the current CBA expires. That means any extension would have to be under the new rules (and it is possible Williams could still walk). The Nets certainly want Williams to open their new building in Brooklyn in the fall of 2012. Williams also would be the lure to recruit other elite players to the team.

Rumors had swirled around Williams in Utah when Jerry Sloan departed the Jazz recently. It was said that the ongoing fights between Williams and Sloan over control of the offense — Williams wanted to run more, Sloan wanted it more controlled — was causing tension and Sloan decided to walk away rather than continue to fight. Especially since he was going to have to be part of the team convincing Williams to sign an extension in Utah.

Some close to the Jazz said with the perception that he pushed the beloved Sloan out the door, the Jazz could not keep Williams long-term.

For the Jazz, if they thought that Williams would leave as a free agent in 2012, and if they think the lockout could wipe out next season, then this would be their last chance to get anything for him.

The Jazz did well for themselves in this trade — they get last year’s No. 3 pick in Favors (a guy with amazing upside), a former All-Star point guard in Harris, the Nets 2011 first round pick (certain to be lottery) and Golden State’s 2012 pick (the Nets owned that). Don’t be shocked if the Jazz use their Nets pick on Jimmer Fredette, the BYU star. We can debate how he fits in the NBA, but that would give the Jazz a huge star in the state and that would sell tickets.

  1. bigtrav425 - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    Harris,Favors and 2 first rounders? man D will is good but i think 1 first rounder added in would of been good enough…But sometimes ya gotta add in a lil extra to get your guy and him and Lopez is def. a good start

  2. teke184 - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    They haven’t said *which* 2 firsts are part of the deal.

    If one is the Lakers’ 1st from this year, that’s going to be around 25th to 30th this year. That’s not exactly a great pick as far as 1sts go.

  3. hnirobert3 - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Wow, didn’t see this coming. Makes you wonder if Sloan was on his way out irregardless of the D-Will situation.

  4. georgeanderson2 - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    When is Josh Smith’s contract up in Atlanta? I would like to see Williams dishing it to Smith.

  5. jmad34 - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    WoW…way to strike back Proky…too bad he won’t extend with you and just cross the Hudson in 2012!! lol

  6. loungefly74 - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    this is huge! yeah…totally unexpected.

    hnirobert3 – “Makes you wonder if Sloan was on his way out irregardless of the D-Will situation.”
    that was the first thing that came to mind! yeah…i would have no quarrels if utah begged for jerry to come back. probably won’t happen though…hmmm…lkaers did it though with phil. huh, who knows.

    well…the nets, like the knicks, are putting pieces in place. man..the east is getting tough and tougher. it’s like the USA/USSR arms race! i’m still shaking my head. just incredible. this trade is just as huge as the melo and it just came about the opposite way in terms of media attention. wow!

  7. leearmon - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Great move by the Nets. I must say, although im a Knick fan Prokhorov has played his first few months as an owner masterfully.

  8. goforthanddie - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    The Nyets get a much better player at less cost than Mr. Vasquez.

  9. chargerdillon - Feb 23, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Good move by the Russain! He got a better team player for less than he wouldve had to get a no-defense-playing Melo.

    Now the Knicks are crippled for years to come with no draft picks and the Nets have a good stud to build their team around with money to spare.

    • leearmon - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:06 PM

      actually the numbers say melo is a better defensive player than deron. And do we know if he’s signed an extension yet?

      Maybe this is just the first piece of a larger puzzle for the Nets. Maybe a Lopez & Williams for Dwight trade next season?

    • paintan8 - Feb 23, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      Ummmmm……….the Nets just traded 2 guaranteed lottery picks for a guy who won’t be there in 2012. If the Knicks are now crippled, the Nets are dead and buried. Stupid trade.

    • tubal22 - Feb 23, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      Williams doesn’t play D. Check the stats of the other point guards he played against. They always had their best games against the Jazz. He’s a heck of a player, but neither he or Melo play D.

  10. jazzydre - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Good! He wanted to leave and it’s time we start with a clean slate. Let’s just hope whatever players we draft stay in Happy Valley. And the Millers need to pony up.

  11. redstar504 - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Furthering the ruination of basketball.

    Point guard throws fit and gets town favorite and longtime coach fired.

    Point guard who gets coach fired was not going to stay. The desert of Salt Lake is not good enough for him. Point guard gets moved to the big lights of Brooklyn/New Jersey.

    Fans of basketball in Salt Lake City have lost star P.G. and star coach in a couple of weeks. Not to mention they are the eight seed right now, not like they are running last with only 6 wins.

    NBA where only big cities happen!!!

    The future 2014:
    The NBA will really be 6 teams New York, Brooklyn, Miami, L.A. – Lakers, Boston, Chicago
    The NBA fodder for the 6 will be: San Antonio, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Atlanta (only for ratings)
    The Rest: contracted or moved to the D-League to serve as farm teams for the big 6

    • leearmon - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      Really? Are you serious. First Jerry Sloan RETIRED. He didnt get fired. I actually cannot see Utah, or any team for that matter firing Sloan. #2 Utah traded Williams, and its not even known if Deron wants to be in Jersey/Brooklyn. He could just as easily leave the Nets as he could’ve left Utah. #3 Fans of Utah still have a playoff roster, and they can still make moves. How can you say OKC and San Antonio will only be “fodder” to teams like the Knicks Nets and Bulls? What evidence do you have to prove that? If anything OKC’s future looks brighter than any other NBA team at this moment (maybe Miami, but thats debatable) Also Orlando is a small market, they have the best big man in the game.

      • redstar504 - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:57 PM

        What evidence????

        What is just about everything you have seen happen and have heard is in the pipe to happen since and imediatally before the Summer of LeBron?

        Actually Happened:
        Amare to NY
        LBJ and Bosh to MIA
        Mello to NY
        D. Will to Brooklyn

        In pipe to happen:
        CP3 to NY or MIA
        D12 to LA or NY

        The flow of talent, especially with the young stars is from the small market teams to the big market teams not the other way around. OKC and S.A. are built around old school guys who are blue collar folks that are ok being out of the big lights but that breed of player is going the way of the Tasmanian tiger or the dodo. The new guys want to be on super teams, play in big cities, hang out with rappers and movie stars, and become media machines.

        Basketball is not about basketball anymore it is about becoming a star especially for the younger guys. The actual playing of the game is just their path to becoming a star.

        I would argue that the future I predicted is already the reality right now. The rest of the NBA really is only a farm league for the big 6. That is happening right now.

        You have to thank LeBron for starting this the guy really destroyed the game. It was going that way before him but he took it to another level. The formation of a SuperTeam is what started this. There is no shared revenue in the NBA and no hard cap. Once a SuperTeam is made the other major markets will want their own SuperTeams and follow suit. They have the coin to pay the tax and they will. Their ratings will go up and their coin will go up even more. The superteam is the new NBA.

      • leearmon - Feb 23, 2011 at 1:19 PM

        “In the pipe to happen” does not count as evidence. Thats like me saying the best colllege players are in the “pipe” to go to the smaller market cities. We cannot speak on the future because we haven’t seen it yet. Again, you are dismissing the Thunder. They are young, and their future is as bright as any team in the league. Also the fact of the matter is most NBA cities are in large markets, so of course the numbers will be skewed but consider the following…

        Memphis had a star (Pau Gasol) they traded him.
        Portland had a great roster but injuries hurt their team both Roy & Aldridge re-signed in Portland.
        Minnesota traded K.G. now they have Kevin Love
        Indianapolis traded Artest, Stephen Jackson Jermaine O’Neal in their primes, cant feel sorry for them
        Utah traded Williams, reportedly Williams is upset at the move..
        Bobcats traded Tyson Chandler, let Felton walk in the offseason, after making their 1ST PLAYOFFS. Again, can’t feel bad for them
        Bucks have a great up and coming team, and signed 3 players this past offseason.

        And lets not act as if this is the first time in history NBA players wanted to play in big cities. Old celtics had Bird, McHale and Parrish. Bulls had Pippen Jordan, Rodman, Rockets had Barkley Olajuwon and Drexler, Pistons had Thomas, Dumars, Lambieer. Lakers had Magic, Worthy & Kareem. Sixers had Barkley, Malone, Dr. J
        etc. This is nothing new. It just seems like it is.

      • redstar504 - Feb 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM

        You are right leearmon this is not the first time this has happened but the factor that makes it different this time is the ESPN’s, NBATV’s, the internet. It is the exposer this gets. If I am a star all I see is what LBJ got and what LBJ did I get green with envy playing in outerspace with a bunch of deadbeats and I want what he has. If I am in a major market and I have a deep pocketed owner like say Dallas. I am demanding that my team get out there and put a super team on the court. Problem is there are only so many stars to go around but an unlimited amount of mid-level talent (a-la Nene’s David West’s, Westbrook’s, J.R. Smith’s). The future is going to leave you with teams of Stars, team’s of accumulated mid-level talent, and farm teams that hit on a pick who is waiting to go elsewhere.

        While your also right that we cant count moves rumored to be happening the NBA needs to counter this now before it gets any worse. They can do this by:
        1.) Setting a hard cap
        2.) Shared revenue increases
        3.) Franchise tag
        4.) Non-Guaranteed Contracts

        The NBA needs to shift the power away from the player and back to the front office.

        The NFL works because every city on opening day can make an argument that they can win it all. You can’t do that in the NBA. There is no way someone in Minny can wake up in late October and think they actually have a shot at winning it all. The NFL can do that because all things are pretty much equal. They each have X dollars and choose to spend them how they want. If they loose it is the front office’s fault not the systems fault. They have created a system that encourages parity. The NBA system is set up to keep the rich, rich and allow them to get even richer. The league needs to make some big changes. I think we can all agree on that.

    • progress2011 - Feb 24, 2011 at 1:49 AM

      redstar, you predict the future so well, what are the Mega Millions numbers ?

      P.S. redstar is one of those hysterical folks that run around, screaming the moon is falling, when the sun starts to rise.

  12. georgeanderson2 - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    While it will never happen in America with basketball, but it would make pro basketball more interesting for communities, if franchises could be moved up and down in divisions like in “futbol”/ soccer.

  13. MTArider - Feb 23, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Well played Prok. You just traded for a big time star that WANTS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR FRANCHISE and will be miserable playing with no talent. Congrats! You can’t extend him and he can simply WALK AWAY from you guys. Enjoy him for a year and dont be surprised if he leaves your team to join the KNICKS because Dolan HATES you and Williams will HATE your team.

  14. thetooloftools - Feb 23, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Sorry D Will. I guess management got sick of your “diva” antics too. Have fun getting slapped around in the East where you will be brutalized.

  15. baboushka - Feb 23, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    Good move by Nets. They have their point guard and leader. Now they need to find the right center/ Power forward to load up with him. Rumor has it that Portland is shopping the injured Gregg Oden. If he can finally return to health in a better GYM, look out! He and D Will along with Brook Lopez could be lighning in a bottle for NJ and pose quite the threat long term in the East. By the way, I am convinced that the actual floor in the Portland arena is chronically misalighned and what is actually causing all of those injuries to the star/big men players up there. There appears to be a chronic , structural problem in the Portland building going all the way back to Bill Walton (who like Oden was healthy before he got there). And they need to get a handle on it, or no one will want to play in that building. Back to the topic:

    Prokey will make a big run a Dwight Howard. But I am convinced that Howard and Chris Paul will end up in LA with either the Lakers or Clippers as Kobe winds down. Its interesting how the East has become the Beast again, while the West is in serious decline. Stern has to be concerned about this trend. Especially after letting a new owner abandon a super market out west like Seattle (where many players actually wanted to play and live) for weak ones like OKC, NO, and Utah.

  16. gnyj85 - Feb 23, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    “It is a brilliant move by the Nets and owner Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, who stayed in the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes to drive up the Knicks price then turned around and got the better player in a good deal.”

    Ummm What? Deron Williams is better than Carmelo..? I dont know about that one.

    • loungefly74 - Feb 23, 2011 at 2:56 PM

      an elite PG is a very high value key piece in the NBA (just like a dominant center). there are not too many…that is why his value may be higher than melo’s. yes, melo is a scorer and can create his own shot, he is very good BUT d.will has a skill set maybe only 5(?) other people in the league have.

    • Kurt Helin - Feb 23, 2011 at 3:11 PM

      If I had to choose between ‘Melo and D-Will for a Mike D’Antoni team, I’d take Williams in a heartbeat. That’s why I say he’s better. I think he can lift teammates up and is more of a leader as well, but Anthony has his chance to prove me wrong there.

      • gnyj85 - Feb 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM

        Ok, valid point. In a D’Antoni system maybe. Is there anyone out there that thinks D’Antoni will ever win a Championship as a head coach..? You cant win a chip letting up 100+ points every game. I’m sticking with Melo, but get a new coach.

  17. paintan8 - Feb 23, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Man, you people crack me up. The Nets are a pathetic franchise that just traded 2 good players and 2 lottery picks for a guy who will either be wearing a Knick or Laker uniform in 2012. Yeah, great trade.

  18. progress2011 - Feb 24, 2011 at 1:52 AM

    Essentially the Utah franchise told all the season ticket holders ” SCREW YOU ” !

    Unless you are a Mormon, there is absolutely no other reason to even travel thru Utah. So, fans that have spent real, hard-earned money on tickets to see this team, now have worthless paper.

    No power forward ( Boozer ), no Coach ( Sloan ) and no player to give you a fighting chance at winning ( Williams ).

    The Mormon churches will be full again!! Tithes and offerings will possibly go up, since fans will have more money…..I guess Williams didn’t want to convert.

    Utah wont make the playoffs for many years to come.

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