Utah Jazz Made Wise Decision in Dealing Deron Williams to Nets

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Deron Williams Nets

After failing on their attempt to lure Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey, the Nets moved quickly to plan B by acquiring Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz in exchange for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, a 2011 first round pick, a conditional future first rounder.  For Utah, the time was now to deal D-Will while new Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov finally lands the superstar he has coveted since taking control of the franchise, but certainly not the best point guard in the NBA.

By: David Kay

Why it makes sense for New Jersey:
The Nets are trying to become relevant again in the Eastern Conference and that starts with finding a face of the franchise.  Since New Jersey struck out this past off-season in singing any of the marquee free agents and were unable to convince Melo to come to New Jersey, trading for a proven All-Star point guard like Williams is the next best thing.

Considering the Nets pretty much had to trade Devin Harris since they burned bridges with him by associating his name in all the Melo trade rumors, this is a much better deal than some of the other possibilities rumored to be out there.  New Jersey is obviously trying to win now rather than wait a couple of years which is why they were willing to deal Derrick Favors and a pair of first round picks.

While Williams is a nice get for the Nets, this acquisition certainly does not turn them into a title contender and makes them a fringe playoff team in the weak Eastern Conference.  New Jersey still needs to find another star to compliment D-Will and go along with the solid inside play of Brook Lopez.  But who is that player going to be?

However, and this is a big however, the former Illinois Fighting Illini point guard is only under contract for one more season and then has the option to opt out of his deal in the summer of 2012.  With rumors that he wants to play in New York, how big of a slap in the face would it be if he only hung around for one season and then bolted across state lines for the Big Apple?  That would be another huge setback for this franchise.

Devin Harris trade

Why it makes sense for Utah:
Once Williams’ name was linked to pushing Jerry Sloan out the door as head coach, I immediately started brainstorming trade possibilities because I figured it would not be long until D-Will was either shipped out of town or forced his way out.  Let’s be honest; the Jazz are nothing more than fringe playoff team in the Western Conference since losing Carlos Boozer.  So adding some young talent and future draft picks makes a whole of sense especially since Williams would likely be gone after next season anyway.

I think Utah was smart in capitalizing on this opportunity now rather than waiting until the off-season or next year.  Look at what happened with the Nuggets and ‘Melo.  Williams easily could have handcuffed the Jazz franchise just like Anthony did this past season by ultimately picking his trade destination and refusing to a sign a contract extension with whatever team he did not want to play for.

D-Will’s replacement, Harris is a very good NBA point guard who should relish his new destination but will not be the best player on any playoff team which is arguably now the case in Utah.  Favors creates a bit of a long jam up-front with Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap already on the team.  But with the oft-injured Mehmet Okur looking washed up and being a free agent after the 2011-2012 season, it provides an opportunity for Favors to grow into an effective NBA big man which will still take some time.

The draft picks will hurry along the mini re-building effort.  With the Nets pick likely being a top eight selection, the Jazz could have two lottery picks this summer as well as in the 2012 draft since Utah will likely not be a playoff team this season or next and now own the Warriors first round pick which is top seven protected.  Add in Andrei Kirilenko’s $17.8 million coming off the books this summer and Okur’s $10.8 million next year and the Jazz also have some cap flexibility in the near future.

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and former contributor for The Washington Times Communities.  You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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Comments

  1. Yeah, I don’t see how the Nets can win with what they have now. where’s your legitimate 2nd and 3rd peices? Yet it’s still an upgrade for them from where they where.

    The Jazz were in NBA Hell since ’07 when they had that breakthrough year, so they had to blow this up- was going nowhere fast

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