In a surprising turn of events, Deron Williams is now a New Jersey Net. Williams will be taking his talents to New Jersey and Utah will be receiving Devin Harris and Derrick Favors in return. It has not been too long since one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, Jerry Sloan, left the Utah Jazz because of rumored controversies between him and his star point guard.
This made it look like the Jazz were committing to their All-Star point guard and I speak for all of us when I say that I am shocked that they are now both gone. Not only does this completely change the landscape of the NBA, but it makes for some interesting free agent storylines in the years to come.With that in mind, here are the 5 biggest results of the trade.
Although we don't know what was going on behind the scenes in Utah, this seems like a bad trade for the Jazz. Deron Williams is a superstar point guard who was having a career year and who didn't even turn a free agent until after next season. There was no reason to trade him a season and a half before he becomes a free agent, especially since it doesn't look like they were actively shopping him to begin with. In my opinion they could of gotten much more for the star point guard and for some reason hesitated. With With Williams, the Jazz were a playoff team this year and without him they are not. Memphis and Phoenix are lurking behind Utah, who are the 8th seed at the moment. Once the trade gets completed Utah should have a starting lineup of Devon Harris, C.J Miles, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson with Hayward, Okur and Derrick Favors playing substantial minutes of the bench.
Phoenix are a veteran team and Memphis are full of young talent so I find it unlikely that the new look Jazz will be able to hold onto their already loose hold on the 8th playoff spot. Keep in mind that Jerry Sloan is no longer the coach and new coach Tyrone Corbin will have a hard time getting players to mesh as he is nowhere as experienced as the Hall of Famer Sloan who coached the Jazz for 23 years. Harris is having a decent season averaging 15 points and 7.6 assists but it is nothing compared to Williams numbers of 21.3 points and 9.7 assists. The Jazz also acquire Rookie Derrick Favors who was averaging 6.3 points and 5.3 boards in just under 20 minutes of play. All in all it looks like the Jazz will not have enough to make the playoffs this year.
I think that Carmelo Anthony is a more marketable player than Deron Williams and I understand why the Knicks were so pushed to get him but he was not worth what the Knicks gave up. The Knicks trade for Carmelo was a blockbuster one that completely reshaped the state of the Knicks but in my opinion it was not for the good. Not only did they give up Raymond Felton, who was averaging over 17 points and 9 assists in the midst of a career year. But they gave up young stars Gallinari and Wilson Chandler who were combining to average 32.3 points and 10.7 boards a night. They also gave up a rookie 7 footer in Timofey Mosgov. He was only averaging 4 points but any European Rookie who is 7 foot tall should not be trade that easily. He was showing some signs of potential and was starting in the past few games. The Knicks also gave up 3 million and a 2014 second round pick. They got a veteran point guard in Chauncey Billups as well as Melo in return.
Billups has always said he wanted to retire in Denver and he is getting old anyway, averaging 16.5 points and less than 6 assists. Essentially the Knicks gave up 4 starters for two starters. I would rather have a young Wilson Chandler and Gallo alone instead of Melo. Melo does fit in perfectly in the Knicks high paced system but he is not a natural leader and may find it hard to share the ball with fellow superstar Amare Stoudemire. The Knicks were sitting pretty at 6th in the East and were poised to make their first playoff appearance since 2004. Chandler and Gallo were still very young and Felton and Stoudemire were in the primes of their career.
The Isaiah Thomas era was nearly over and Eddy Curry's contract was nearly off their hands. Also, they could have taken the chance that Carmelo wouldn't have gotten traded and that he would go to them for free (other than money of course) in the summer as everyone knew New York was Melo's preferred destination. They had all the leverage in the situation but hesitated. I see the Knicks losing in the first round this year followed by a string of second round exits unless they can bring in a third superstar like Paul or Howard. The supporting cast is non-existant at the moment and the Knicks will be nothing more than an exciting team to watch this year.
Let's be honest, you laughed as well when the Net's new billion dollar owner said New Jersey would win a title in the next five years. It still looks unrealistic but they are definitely in much better shape right now. This was a savvy trade that I am still not sure how he pulled off. He has been speaking bold ever since he became the owner of the Nets and even said that it was a good idea to stay away from the Carmelo sweepstakes. Sure, the Net's swung and missed on Lebron and the other free agents of the summer but that looks like a smart decision now.
The Nets gave up an average point guard and an unproven rookie for a guy who is questionably the best point guard in the league. This was one of the smartest trades that have seen because it makes them relevant in the league again. Prokhorov had this to say on the situation: " I think we’ve made a very good tactical decision to force (the) Knicks just to pay as much as they can. So I think it’s very good, it’s very interesting, it’s very competitive. As you know, my instinct was to stay away and I still think that is the right decision".
He also had interesting opinions on how the Net's will be contenders in the future: "we have practically everything at our disposal and we have made a lot of fundamentals during our first season. We have a new coach, we have a strong front office, we have great roster of talented young players, we have five first-round draft picks and we have a lot of trade-able assets – it sounds great. What we missed? We need just one superstar. But any superstar player from our roster, or what can be traded, he will be the king of the world. The first really global basketball player.
Depending on the Salary Cap, the Net's could have up to 19 million in cap space going into the summer even though they are taking on Williams hefty salary. They will be unloading the contracts of Vujacic, Humphries as well as the contracts of newly acquired players Dan Gadzuric and Brandon Wright. They acquired those players in a trade with Golden State today, they gave up Troy Murphy in return for the two players with expiring contracts. They are also on track to start the 2012-2013 season in their new home in
Brooklyn. Brooklyn is a massive market that is attractive to superstar players who want to build their brand. Not only that, but now that Williams is there, another superstar such as Dwight Howard may be attracted to sign with them when he can become a free agent after next season. A good start would be to build a supporting cast this offseason. I think they should target a guy who used to play in New York, Jamal Crawford. He will be a free agent this offseason and averaged 20 points per game the last time he played a full season in the city. He is having a decent season in Atlanta averaging 15PPG and Atlanta are unlikely to resign him.
I think that that would be a good start to try to lure free agents to Brooklyn. Keep in mind that the Nets did give up draft picks in the trade that have not yet been made known to the public. But if they didn't give up this years first round pick they are likely to have at least a top ten pick this year, something that will definitely bring in more young talent. If they want to make a serious run at Howard, Brook Lopez and a first a high lottery pick combined with another player or an expiring contract could be enough to get them another star on the trading market. If they can get Crawford and some sort of supporting cast in place, they may be able to make a run at Howard after the 2011-2012 season.
Some might say that it is a crazy decision to trade for a superstar who may not resign with the team and I usually agree but I have the up most confidence in the ownership of Mikhail Prokhorov. He is a savvy businessman who knows what it takes to succeed and knows how to make a brand. There is no way that Deron Williams is going to leave when they have all that cap space and are just about to move to Brooklyn. Prokhorov is a persuasive strategist who should be able to make enough moves to keep his young superstar happy.
The Nets will not be too successful this season or the next but will definitely be title contenders a few years down the line. Prokhorov has shown the fans of New Jersey that he is willing to do what ever possible to put a winner on the court and he understands that it is a process. This trade does not make them playoff contenders this year and they still have a long way to go, but this is definitely a good start in the process of making the New Jersey Nets NBA Title contenders. Williams does not seem to have a perfect attitude but he is a spectacular point guard in his prime and is proven to be good. Congratulations New Jersey, you finally have the franchise player that you deserve.