Utah Jazz: Deron Williams Trade Is Defining Moment for Owner Greg Miller

Scott LambsonContributor IIIFebruary 24, 2011

Jazz nation spoke, Greg Miller listened and Deron Williams is history.

Yes, Salt Lake City, Greg Miller does care—and today, he stepped out of the shadows and put his own personal stamp on the franchise.

It was a defining moment for the Jazz owner, who took over as CEO of the Jazz after his father, the beloved Larry H. Miller, passed away two years ago.

With the recent resignation of head coach Jerry Sloan and the controversy that followed with Deron Williams, Jazz nation was in disarray.

Fans, myself included, were calling for Miller to regain control of the franchise and show the same resolve and toughness as his father had done for so many years.

Today, he did just that, by pulling the trigger on the biggest trade in franchise history, sending disgruntled All-Star Deron Williams to New Jersey.

And while some will argue whether the trade was beneficial for the Jazz, it's irrelevant, Miller did the right thing.

He listened to his fan base.

It was never Deron's game that Jazz fans took issue with, it was his attitude, his lack of leadership and his disrespect.

In Utah, win or lose, it has always been about doing things the right way.

Jazz fans know that they are always going to be competing up-hill. They know they are one of the smallest markets in the league and that Utah will always be a tough sell for free agents who are more interested in celebrity than playing team basketball.

Jazz fans have never been about winning at all costs. They don't put up with players who put themselves above the coaching staff, the team, or the fans.

Put simply, Jazz fans grew tired of Deron Williams.

Every newspaper article they could comment on, radio show they could call into, or poll they could vote on, the vast majority of fans wanted to move on from the Deron Williams era.

Whether fair or not, the fans didn't like the way Deron was combative with Coach Sloan. They largely saw it as blatant disrespect for an icon that they had cherished for over two decades.

When Sloan resigned, it felt as if the player, for the first time in franchise history had won out. It felt as if the coach, whomever it was, was no longer in control of the team and that the owner was no longer in control of the franchise.

It felt that way up until about noon today.

Today, the sun came back out in Jazz nation.

To most Jazz fans, the players, draft picks and cash received for Deron Williams were in a way, irrelevant. 

At its core, the trade was about much more than that, it was about getting control of the franchise back.

As one life-long Jazz fan said to me earlier today: "Regardless of who we got, this was a win for all the fans."

What we learned today is that even in the Greg Miller era, the franchise is still about doing things the right way. That no player is larger than the organization, or the fans that keep it here.

Today, as I watched Greg Miller answer questions from the media, I gained a new respect for him as the Jazz owner. I saw a man who was in control of his franchise. A man in touch with his fan base—so much so that he had the guts to trade his best player, whom many considered untradeable.

Without Sloan and Williams, the Jazz, with a doubt, will struggle to find their new identity. But no matter how bad it gets, in my opinion, Greg Miller did the right thing.

We already saw what happens to franchises when they sell out to their star players. Most notably in Cleveland, when they were held hostage by Lebron James, up until "the decision."

Even in Utah, we got nothing for Boozer or Korver, just a year ago.

What makes us think that Williams would have been any different?

It's not our father's NBA. The days of absolute loyalty are long gone. Nobody is going to take a pay-cut so that the franchise can afford more talent, as John Stockton did to afford Karl Malone years ago.

No, it's a different era, even Williams admitted that when talking about his recent disconnect with Sloan.

But today, we can thank Greg Miller for proving that in Utah, it's still about doing things the Jazz way or finding the next flight out of town. 

Thank you Mr. Miller for re-affirming that under your watch, win or lose, Utah will always be about doing things the right way.