Jazz deal All-Star Williams to Nets
The two picks the Jazz received are the Nets’ 2011 first-round selection and a 2012 first-rounder the Nets had acquired from the Warriors, which is protected through the first seven picks.
After chasing Anthony for six months – including three near-agreements with Denver – the Nets’ deal for Williams came together in 24 hours, sources said. The Jazz were involved with the Nets in October as part of a potential four-team trade that would have sent Anthony to New Jersey, but Williams had not been included in that deal.
“He is one of the premier point guards in the NBA, and his skill and talent level will bolster our franchise as we continue to build towards our goal of becoming a championship-caliber team,” Nets general manager Billy King said. /p>
As reported Tuesday, the Nets are also close to receiving forward Brandan Wright(notes) and center Dan Gadzuric(notes) from the Golden State Warriors in a separate trade that sends the Warriors forward Troy Murphy(notes). That deal is expected to be finalized by Thursday.
A two-time All-Star point guard, Williams had been unhappy with the Jazz’s lack of progress this season and the organization believed that he would leave as a free agent in 2012. His deteriorating relationship with Jerry Sloan played a part in the Hall of Fame coach’s decision to retire earlier in the month.
Williams had seen several teammates leave through free agency or trades, and the Jazz struggled to gain traction this season while several players, including Williams, coped with injuries. Carlos Boozer(notes), Kyle Korver(notes) and Wesley Matthews(notes) all signed with other teams last summer.
“We feel that we’ve addressed a current need at point guard with Deron’s departure, as well as the future with draft picks and a big man,” Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor said. “To do so we had to give up an All-Star, but we feel like this is a win for both sides.”
Teams have already called inquiring about the availability of Favors, but have been told the Jazz plan to keep him.
Williams, 26, had no indication he would be traded to New Jersey, and hasn’t had time to even digest the deal – never mind consider an extension with the Nets.
Still, New Jersey will try to persuade Williams to sign an extension, but it remains to be seen how quickly, if at all, he’ll embrace the idea of a long-term deal with the Nets. The earliest he can sign an extension is this summer, provided the league hasn’t entered a lockout.
Nevertheless, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has been determined to upstage the New York Knicks with something beyond clever quips and giant billboards. Finally, on the day of Anthony’s introductory news conference and possible debut at Madison Square Garden against Milwaukee, Prokhorov made his most dramatic statement as owner with the Williams trade.
Harris, meanwhile, had embraced the Nets’ efforts to try to trade him. After Harris pushed for the Nets to hire his former coach, Avery Johnson, the two had a difficult time working together, and Harris’ production declined across the season. The Nets discussed deals with multiple teams, including Portland and Dallas, sources said.