Oh, sweet redemption.
Mikhail Prokhorov must feel like Andy Dufresne crawling out of the sewage pipe totally clean. In a stunning turn of events, the Nets have landed All-Star PG Deron Williams (21.3 PPG, 9.7 APG, 3.9 RPG) from the Utah Jazz in exchange for PG Devin Harris, PF Derrick Favors and two first-round picks.
Things looked bleak for the Nets organization the past couple days. They had just tried unsuccessfully for the third time to trade for Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony before watching him go to their trans-Hudson rivals, the New York Knicks, for a slightly weaker package.
Anthony had zero interest in playing for the Nets, potentially to his financial detriment. Had he not been sent to New York, Anthony would have had to choose between exercising his three year, $65 million dollar contract extension with the Nuggets or Nets, or risk taking a hefty pay cut as a free agent depending on the outcome of the new collective bargaining agreement.
Since the bridge in Denver was burned to a crisp, we can only venture a guess as to whether he would have accepted a trade to New Jersey had the Knicks not increased their trade offer.
And I'm not even going to get into the Lebron saga, where he pretended to not have already made a decision on Miami and strung the Nets, Knicks, Cavs and others along for an entire offseason.
Alas, that is all ancient history.
After listening to and taking part in Melo rumors for the entire season ad nauseum, the Nets were able to quickly and stealthily pluck the unhappy Williams from Utah in a move certain to keep the organization moving forward.
The cost? Unhappy guard Devin Harris, rookie PF Derrick Favors, the Nets 2011 first Round Pick and Golden State's 2012 first Round Pick.
Just yesterday, Harris was rumored to be traded to Dallas or Portland for expiring contracts; the Nets even cancelled practice in anticipation of a trade.
That Billy King staged this coup is mind-blowing. Harris is a talented player that simply didn't mesh with Avery Johnson, again. They were together in Dallas before Harris came to New Jersey as part of the Jason Kidd trade. Favors has shown upside, but is very young and couldn't be expected to become a major part of the offense for a couple years at best.
As for draft picks, the Nets still have first rounders in each of the next two drafts thanks to previous trades.
To recap the week, the Nets traded less for Williams than was required for Anthony. Further, they are working out the final details of a trade involving PF Troy Murphy, which will free up significant cap space heading into this uncertain offseason.
Williams joins a starting five that contains the offensively gifted seven-footer Brook Lopez, as well as two lethal three point shooters in Sasha Vujacic and Anthony Morrow.
While the playoffs are a long shot for this season, next year looks promising. Especially so if they are able to upgrade their starting lineup while retaining key role players such as PF Kris Humphries (8.8 PPG, 9.2 RPG) and Sasha Vujacic (11 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.1 APG w/Nets).
Williams is signed through next season, but will be eligible to sign an extension after the new CBA takes effect. Should he not want to be a part of the Nets' future, they have the ability to trade him at the deadline next year and should be able to recoup at least what they paid if not more.
But I'm not thinking that far ahead...
This is an exciting time to be a Nets fan—as of this moment, everything has gone according to plan, errrrr the "Blueprint."