Tag:Deron Williams
Posted on: February 25, 2011 5:22 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: The hard cost of business



Posted by Matt Moore 


In today's Friday 5 with KB: A favorite story from Jerry Sloan, the future of Utah, the choppy waters of this year's trade deadline, and when exactly are the Spurs going to hit double-digit losses?
 


1. Well... that trade deadline was beyond all reason. What was the most stunning moment for you in the midst of all the chaos of the past 72-96 hours?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Deron Williams to the Nets, hands down. Though there was some hint of trouble with our report during All-Star weekend that D-Will had begun hatching his escape-to-New York plan last summer, no one expected the Jazz to take the bold step of trading him in the next 72 hours. Stunning, and a small victory for teams and owners against the superstar power-play movement.

2. You talked a lot about the business side of the Celtics' decision to move Perkins. What does it say that a big market team with deep pockets was put into a position to be concerned about finances?

KB: It's not so much finances with the Celtics. In a no-cap system like baseball has, they never would have done this trade. They just would've kept Perk and paid him. But with all signs pointing to a hard cap, or at least a harder cap on the way, Boston couldn't afford to leave itself vulnerable to losing a 26-year-old, 6-10 center and getting nothing in return. And if you think about it, one of the players the Celtics got back, Jeff Green, was someone they drafted in 2007 and traded for Ray Allen. Getting Troy Murphy on a minimum deal after he's bought out also will help ease the pain. An underrated benefit of this deal for the Thunder is that Perk's Bird rights go with him in the trade. That is, if Bird rights survive in the new CBA.

3. Buyouts are going to be all the rage for the next two weeks. What are you hearing in terms of players who might be available for the contenders to sign?

KB: Besides Murphy, Jared Jeffries is going to the Knicks, while Darius Songaila and Jason Kapono could help a contender if they're bought out. Rip Hamilton was on the verge of getting bought out as part of a trade to the Cavs, but we know that didn't work out too well for him. I doubt Hamilton, with two years left on his deal, gets bought out now. Same for Marcus Camby for the same reason.

4. Is Mikhail Prokhorov in the top five of most entertaining owners, after this week?

KB: Top two. Prokhorov is on Cuban's level now. Between his stunning squashing of the Melo trade talks in January and his bold move to extract D-Will from Utah, Prokhorov served noticed that he's in this to go toe-to-toe with the Knicks. In a related story, spokesperson Ellen Pinchuk will not go down in the annals of disingenuous spokespeople, right there with Baghdad Bob.

5. How hard is the personal side of these trades for players? We're reading on Twitter players saying goodbye to each other, packing up their houses, their families. Is the cost of these moves high on a personal level?

KB: Harder than most people think. The common reaction is that no one should feel sorry for the players because they make so much money. But their kids don't care how much money their father makes, only that they won't see him for the rest of the season because he's been traded. Chauncey Billups is a prime example. He thought he was going home to finish his career in Colorado, only to have to tell his children he'll see them in May or June. Money is good, but nothing compares to family.
Posted on: February 24, 2011 8:46 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 9:14 pm
 

Trade Deadline: Black Thursday Winners and Losers

With close to a dozen trades before the 2011 NBA Trade Deadline, we break down the winners and losers in each division.
Posted by EOB Staff




Well, that escalated quickly. After an insane week that started with the Carmelo Anthony trade finally coming to fruition, the NBA trade deadline finished with nearly a dozen deals having been completed. Here are the winners and losers from this insane week that was. 

Atlantic Division

Winner: New Jersey Nets

Plenty of good arguments to be had for the New York Knicks snagging Carmelo Anthony and the Boston Celtics nabbing Jeff Green, but no other team in the entire league changed its fortunes like the New Jersey Nets, who acquired the single best player who moved during this year's trading season: point guard Deron Williams. The price New Jersey paid was meaningful but not crippling, and Williams sets them up to win and build far better than rookie big man Derrick Favors would have. We already saw how far point guard Devin Harris could carry them the last two seasons. Williams will hopefully breathe some new life into big man Brook Lopez, help maximize the production from New Jersey's many role players and serve as an attraction to  other marquee names in free agency. Nobody else made a bigger leap into relevancy that the Nets did, and that's worthy of the winner title. -- Ben Golliver


(Tracker )



Loser: Toronto Raptors

Speaking of struggling with relevance, allow me to introduce the Toronto Raptors, who moved a first round pick for James Johnson, a seldom used forward who has failed to deliver on his draft promise during his two years in the NBA. It's not a terrible move but it's one that comes with limited upside, leaving the Raptors to continue to churn below mediocrity. Blowing things up was probably the way to go -- unloading Jose Calderon's contract would have been a great start -- but asset collection would have also inspired some hope among the Raptors diehards. Instead, the cynical wait for Jay Triano's firing marches on. -- BG


(Tracker )

Northwest Division

Winner: Oklahoma City Thunder

I don't think there could possibly be a bigger winner than the Oklahoma City Thunder. They won a Pulitzer, a Grammy, a Nobel Prize and an Oscar all in one swoop.

Not only did two of the division's very best players in Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony get moved, opening the door for OKC to stay at the top of the Northwest for years to come, the Thunder did a little of their own maneuvering, picking up Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed to fill the biggest gap in the team's depth chart.

Giving up Jeff Green stings as he was one of the original long term pieces that the Thunder was building with. But he was a restricted free agent and indications were that he wasn't going to be re-signed for the price OKC was comfortable with. So the Thunder flips him and Nenad Krstic (an expiring contract) for the Celtics starting center (and Nate Robinson). Perkins is an unrestricted free agent himself this summer, but not only does OKC get him for two months, it also has the cap space and desire to re-sign him over the summer.

So let's recap that real quick: Some of the main competition got worse and the Thunder got better. That's a good haul. -- Royce Young


(Tracker )



Loser: Utah Jazz

Any time you give up a superstar, you aren't going to get equal value. It's just reality. And while the Jazz received a nice return for Deron Williams (Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, two first-round picks) it's really not even close to enough.

The Jazz still had the rest of this season and a whole other year with Williams. They wanted to strike preemptively to avoid any welling Derondrama of taking place next season. But is that really worth just shipping out one of the league's best point guards, just like that?

In the past 30 days, Utah has lost its coach and its face. Those are big blows. The Jazz are moving on and will try and rebuild a winner around younger players while creating cap space and stockpiling picks, but there's no denying that this isn't the same team without Williams.

The Jazz will be lucky to stumble into the postseason this season and will likely be a lottery team next year. And to think, they could've had at least another full season with Williams, but instead they chose to jump at the best offer they might get. I understand the thinking of trading a player that won't re-sign, but still, is what you get back worth the time you're giving up? -- RY


Southeast Division

Winner: Charlotte Bobcats

It took some time for Michael Jordan to realize it, but the best maneuver for the Bobcats was simply to set fire to the roster. The team was never going anywhere with its existing pieces so it just made all the sense in the world to start over.

What the Bobcats received on deadline day was a couple expiring contracts (Joel Przybilla, Morris Peterson) while also finding two first-round drafts picks and not a bad young big man in D.J. White. They lost Gerald Wallace, which hurts, but that's the price for rebuilding .

Going into the summer, the normally financially strapped Bobcats will have some room to look around, while also being able to build around the cheapest talent available -- rookies. The forthcoming draft classes aren't that excellent, but there are good players to be had if you look hard enough.

It's odd to see a team that threw away a chance at the postseason as a winner, but the Bobcats did the right thing. This has been in the cards for months and while they didn't get Stephen Jackson moved, they sent a good chunk of the roster off. -- RY


(Tracker )

Loser: Orlando Magic

Orlando did all of its dealing more than a month ago and didn't really have much left to pursue. The Magic wanted a big man to help inside, but they never did find a suitable deal.

But on top of that, they are now kind of that idle ship in the East. They have the talent to win, but Otis Smith's blockbuster hasn't worked out well at all. Gilbert Arenas isn't scoring, Hedo Turkoglu isn't creating and Jason Richardson is mainly just a shooter. Dwight Howard wanted more help inside and the Magic didn't get it.

(Where they did win was Kendrick Perkins getting moved. Perkins was always one of the best defenders for Dwight Howard and with him out of the picture, the Celtics aren't nearly as formidable inside and will likely struggle guarding Howard. So that's one plus for them.)

Again, not that they really had to pieces to make a big splash, but maybe Smith jumped the gun on a trade. Maybe if he waits for the deadline, he's a player for some of the bigger fish like Gerald Wallace or even Deron Williams. That's speculation, but if Orlando's not going anywhere, it would've been worth it, right? -- RY


Southwest Division

Winner: Houston Rockets

The Rockets needed to do something, and it's hard to criticize what they came up with. Turning Shane Battier's expiring contract into a decent high-risk, maybe-reward project in bust-to-date center Hasheem Thabeet was solid. Moving point guard Aaron Brooks, who the Rockets clearly weren't willing to commit big dollars to long-term, for productive and cheap point guard Goran Dragic of the Suns, bought the Rockets a year to sort out their long-term point guard situation. Together, the trades serve as value plays for a franchise that has spun its wheels since Yao Ming's abrupt decline into the injury abyss. There wasn't much competition for the "winner" tag in this division, as it was fairly quiet and devoid of major division-altering moves. While playoff contention might get tabled until next year, the Rockets plunge ahead with their smarter-than-average, flexibility-oriented approach. -- BG


(Tracker )

Loser: Memphis Grizzlies

Any time you try valiantly but can't complete a trade of a player who has started a fight on your team plane and been suspended for violating the league's performance enhancing drugs policy, you are the automatic loser. That's just a default rule of the NBA. When the Grizzlies failed to complete a deal that would have shipped O.J. Mayo to the Indiana Pacers for Josh McRoberts, they added another dramatic chapter to an already difficult situation, sending a message to a troubled player that he isn't really wanted but, hey, he is still welcome to show up for practice tomorrow. Awkward. Mayo still has tons of promise, but this disaster area clearly isn't the right location for him to realize it. -- BG


(Tracker )



Central Division

Winner: Cleveland Cavaliers

It wasn't a huge win. It wasn't even a considerable win.  But the Cavaliers needed to make efforts to go young, and they have done so.  The Cavs sent off Mo Williams and Jamario Moon's expiring contract for Baron Davis and a first round pick from the Clippers. The initial reaction is revulsion, because they were forced to acquire Baron Davis' massive contract, knee problems, and laziness. But two things. One, Davis has shown with Blake Griffin that he can be a not-terrible player. The Cavs aren't looking for a guy to be a difference maker next year. Davis will have considerably more value next season at the deadline with a 2013 expiring contract (if he doesn't opt-out). It's a large chunk of change with nearly $29 million left on his deal, but if they're able to flip him at some point, buy him out, or get some level of production, it's worth it. Why? Because two, that draft pick is the gold mine, here. The Clippers are not going to make the playoffs this year, will be in the lottery, and can end up with a valuable draft pick. As a result, the Cavs get what they need most. A high draft pick. That's what they needed to do.

In a second deal, the Cavaliers picked up Semih Erden and Luke Harangody from the Celtics. Neither are going to set the world on fire, but both have shown flashes of talent for the Celtics, and can be valuable role players or added to offseason trades. For the price of a second round pick, that's a near-steal. The Cavaliers missed out on a big opportunity when a deal with Golden State fell through, but in the end, they at least moved forward with rebuilding instead of standing pat. It wasn't a great deadline, but it wasn't a disaster. That's what this season is. --Matt Moore


(Tracker )

Loser: Indiana Pacers

Drat! Foiled! The Pacers were this  close to landing O.J. Mayo in a trade sending Josh McRoberts and a draft pick to Memphis. It's a bigger loss for the Grizzlies who now have to deal with the fallout, but a lost opportunity for Indiana. Brandon Rush has vanished in the rotation and the Pacers need a true 2-guard to make them a better scoring team on the perimeter. Mayo would have fit that bill perfectly. But as always should be the lesson with the Grizzlies, if you give them an opportunit to screw something up, that's what they'll do. This time it backfired on the Pacers and they're stuck, despite McRoberts being a more-than-serviceable forward, without Mayo. Plus it looks embarassing to have agreed to a deal and have the deadline pass. But perhaps the biggest reason they lost was their insistance on not trading their expiring contracts. They had Mike Dunleavey Jr. and Jeff Foster both available and both expendable and failed to get on the market. They could have brought in a legitimate addition to push them into a solid middle-playoff-seed team. Instead, they're left with the same squad, playing well, but contending cores are not built on three-week win streaks. If they can't do anything with the money they'll clear, they may regret having been so quiet on this very loud day. -- MM


Pacific Division

Winner: Sacramento Kings

Marcus Thornton's career is probably going one of two ways. He is likely not going to end up as just an average NBA player. He's either going to blow up and be a household name where he plays in terms of scoring capacity, or he's going to flame out horribly and be an inefficient malcontent. Odds are much more on the former. I'm not saying he'll be a star in this league, but he can be very good and part of a core that helps the Kings contend, if they keep him. Moving Landry clears space, clears someone who was unhappy, clears money the team can't afford to spend. Thornton is a young asset, and one that can fill the bucket up. That's especially important for them this season with Tyreke Evans on the bench due to injury. But when he gets back, Evans-Thornton-Cousins? That's a phenomenal balance of talent. Just because this season has been a disaster doesn't mean next year has to be. Great move for the Kings. I'm not going to dignify the Marquis Daniels trade with a response. -- MM


(Tracker )

Loser: Phoenix Suns

Bear in mind, Aaron Brooks is a good player. He really is. The Rockets hardballed him because they understand his limitations and never overcommit to a player who's not truly great . That's just not what they do. And Brooks is not a great player. Furthermore, Brooks fits with the Suns only to the degree that it's nice to have nitro-boost on the fastest car in the world. You're already fast. Why are you spending more to get faster? Brooks will struggle to get time behind Steve Nash, who's kept himself in such good condition he won't be going anywhere any time soon. Brooks was acquired for a talented guard in Goran Dragic and a first round pick. That pick wasn't going to be super-valuable and the Suns bleed first-rounders like they're nothing, but still, for a team that's struggling to find an identity after the loss of Stoudemire, this move seemed at best superfluous and at worst a step backwards. Brooks kind of fits the role of the departed Leandro Barbosa, but was that really what the Suns needed? This was a strange trade, and not one that helped them. -- MM


(Tracker )
Posted on: February 23, 2011 2:54 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 3:08 pm
 

The Knicks and Nets have a real rivalry now

With the Nets' acquisition of Deron Williams, the Nets-Knicks rivalry is officially on.
Posted by Matt Moore

Bear in mind that were this Denver and Utah on the flip side, this wouldn't be a rivalry. Not really. They certainly have one by being division opponents, but not really. And that's not really fair, because it should be the mechanics, and not the market that decides such things. But it is. Media's based on the coasts, and particularly in the New York area. So here we are. And while neither of these teams will be competing for a championship for at least another year, there is a very real rivalry now in New York, which will only intensify between now and when the Nets relocate to Brooklyn in 2012. 

This all started this summer when the Nets installed billboards across from Madison Square Garden. James Dolan was so irritated that the called Jay-Z to complain about it. Shockingly, that didn't really do anything, because I'm pretty sure Jay-Z could care less what James Dolan thinks. Then the LeBron James courting began, and it was clear that both teams were taking veiled shots at the other in their meetings, despite the fact that Pat Riley was running the game from the start. Once that was over with, the Melo era started, and that got downright ugly. Knicks fans mocked Nets fans for Melo not wanting to sign there, Nets fans mocked Knicks fans for not having the pieces to trade for him. And when the Knicks pulled off the deal Monday, it was seen as a huge win for the Knicks and a big loss for Mikhail Prokhorov, who backed out of the talks for Anthony, then got dragged back in, met with Melo, and still couldn't close the deal, leaving him still without an All-Star to call his own.

Things got so bad on Tuesday, the Carnegie Deli put a new Carmelo sandwich on the menu, complete with, get this... Russian dressing! Because Prokhorov was nothing more than dressing! It's a metaphor, you see. 

On Wednesday, things went to the next level. The Jazz took an earlier version of what the Nets had offered the Nuggets for Anthony in exchange for Deron Williams. Speculation is now rampant that Prokhorov deliberately entered negotiations with the Nuggets over All-Star Weekend just to drive up the price for Anthony, forcing the Knicks to give up four starters, and a pick. It also brought Isiah Thomas out from the rock he was hiding under, and created tension in the Knicks' front office. Then Prokhorov flipped the deal to get Deron Williams, the Nets have an All-Star, flexibility, still a number of picks, and Brook Lopez, a legit center which the Knicks lack. 

And when did this trade go down? Oh, that's right, the very same day the Knicks are introducing Carmelo Anthony before a game against the Bucks. Thunder = stolen. 

This is about to get good. As the Knicks and Nets both improve thanks to their billionaire owners and the market ability to draw free agents, bidding wars are likely to continue. This is going to have impacts on the rest of the league as these owners may seek not to limit themselves with a hard cap in the upcoming CBA talks to allow themselves the ability to outspend the rest of the league, and especially, each other. This is an arms race, now, with the Knicks up one All-Star, and two more on the market in 2012. There are now three All-Stars in the tri-state area, with the Nets becoming the Brooklyn Nets (or at least Brooklyn somethings), and trying to hone in on the Knicks' market. If the Amar'e-Melo combination hampers their abilty to build role player support, the Nets will be there with a managed approach of assets (even with Travis Outlaw's horrific contract). If the Nets inabilty to move players they overpaid for this summer leaves them short an All-Star compliment and Brook Lopez fails to improve, the Knicks will be there with two spotlight stars. 

The fans are the biggest part of this, with the Knicks the New York basketball aristocracy, and the Nets the plucky underdog about to make a big splash.  This is the perception, despite the fact that the Knicks have been terrible for a decade and the Nets have been to the Finals during that time.  Again, facts really aren't the currency of trade in this marketplace. Just lots of yelling. And garlic. 

Prepare for even more high dramatics in the most over-covered area in sports. The fun's just getting started. 

Posted on: February 23, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Deron Williams trade: Williams unhappy?


Posted by Matt Moore

The Salt Lake City Tribune reports on Deron Williams' reaction to being traded to the New Jersey Nets




The Trib also reports that Williams was "dumbfounded" regarding trade and had no idea it was coming. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports the same, that Williams is not happy with this trade. If true, you have to wonder about two different issues. 

1. Did the Jazz make this move too soon and if so, why? The Jazz must have been concerned about Williams leaving them high and dry like LeBron James did Cleveland and Carmelo Anthony threatened to do with Denver. There have been reports about increasing frustration from Williams this season over the team spinning its wheels in place and even regressing. This seems like a reactionary fallout move from Jerry Sloan's resignation, almost as if the Jazz were saying "We don't want the guy who drove Sloan out." Which is kind of insane, considering Jerry Sloan's age and the fact that Williams is an All-Star who don't exactly grow on trees, I don't care how many picks the Nets gave you. If Williams was amiable at all to staying in Utah, the Jazz should have done everything in their power to keep him. But that's fairly obvious, so you have to think at some point, the Jazz got the impression that Williams was not going to be in Utah in 2012-2013, and decided to cash in now. 

2. If Williams didn't sign off on this trade, why did the Nets do it?  The Nets just got through with the Carmelo Anthony negotiations, and were unwilling to take on Anthony without his extension. Williams is unable to sign such an extension until July 9th, but if he's unhappy with this trade, aren't the Nets in the exact same position as they would have been with Anthony in a "rental" situation? If Williams is unhappy in New Jersey and elects not to re-sign with the Nets, Prokhorov will have just traded Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round draft picks for 1.3 years of Deron Williams, who could very well just take the subway over to MSG and sign with the Knicks. Sure, it's not the deal that included all those in this trade plus Troy Murphy and another pick the Nuggets were asking for, but it's still quite a bit. This is still a brilliant deal for the Nets, but now the pressure is on to make major strides in order to convince Williams he wants to commit to Brooklyn upon relocation. It's got a huge payoff, but this is certainly a massive gamble without clearing the trade with Williams first. 


Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:41 pm
 

CP3 deems the Deron Williams deal an 'epic fail'

Posted by Royce Young

Chris Paul, who will likely be part of his own trade drama over next season, tweeted out his initial thoughts on the trade sending Deron Williams to New Jersey. And he didn't mince words. Tell us how you really feel, CP3.


Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Deron Williams Trade: Grading the trade

Grading the trade of Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round picks. 
Posted by Matt Moore






Deron Williams has been traded to the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round picks, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports.  The Nets are also trading bigman Troy Murphy's expiring contract to the Warriors in exchange for Dan Gadzuric and Brendan Wright. It's a stunning move that comes just days after the Nets failed to acquire Carmelo Anthony in last-minute talks at All-Star Weekend. Their efforts included a meeting with Mikhail Prokhorov that failed to convince the All-Star forward. But now, at long last, the Nets have their All-Star, the Jazz are rebuilding, and Deron Williams has the market he's obviously been longing for. 

So how did everyone do in this deal?

Deron Williams

Well, Deron, it's not New York, but it will be. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported last weekend that Williams began telling associates last summer that he would look to join Amar'e Stoudemire in New York should Stoudemire sign with New York in free agency.  Now it would appear that Williams gets his wish to play in the world's biggest market, he'll just have to wait a year when the Nets relocate to Brooklyn.  He's playing with a point-guard friendly coach in Avery Johnson and he gets to work with his first true center in Brook Lopez. The only problem? It would appear Williams is not happy with the trade

The frenzy is going to be phenomenally loud for Williams on his way out.  Despite his denials, Williams was linked to a confrontation with Jerry Sloan that was followed immediately by his resignation. Williams is associated with running the 22-year-tenured head coach of the Jazz out of town, and is now bolting. We said that leaving in free agency would be a PR disaster for him afterwards, but this affords him the easy excuse of it being out of his hands. And at the end of the day, he still controls his destiny, able to sign or not sign an extension with New Jersey on July  9th.

Williams gets all the media frenzy that comes with this move, without the hoopla of "The Decision" or the drawn out pressure and exhaustive media scrutiny of Melo's ordeal. He gets the big market with a young core moving to take over Brooklyn as the second New York team, playing for a billionaire willing to spend to win. But he left a contending team for a rebuilding one, in a situation he's apparently not happy about. He may wind up pretty happy in the end, though.

Grade: B-

New Jersey Nets

There's two ways to look at this, and either way, the Nets win.

The first is the conspiracy theory that's going to be massively popular for the next month, which is that Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the Nets, purposefully raised the price tag on Carmelo Anthony, forcing the Knicks to constantly buckle to higher and higher pricetags, eventually giving up foru starters and a pick for the All-Star forward. Then he turned around and acquried a better, younger All-Star for less. In Soviet Russia, Nets trick you! It's a far-fetched idea that requires a whole lot of dangerous maneuvering and a pretty petty rivalrly. Then again, the Nets put up a billboard outside MSG this summer.

The more reasonable theory is simply that word got passed to Prokhorov during the weekend that Williams was looking to get out and the Jazz were looking to move him for whatever reason.  The package they offered the Nuggets was gold. Absolute gold, and they had already come to terms with surrendering that much in exchange for an All-Star.  So when word got around that the Jazz would be amiable to it, the calls were made and it happened the same way you hear from a neighbor that his friend is looking to sell his car. His brand new, rocket-fueled gold car that he doesn't know how to drive. 

On the court, this isn't going to be perfect right away. Brook Lopez has struggled this season, and that's likely due to Avery Johnson, not Devin Harris. His rebounding is terrible, and his defense has regressed. But he's an effective scorer in the pick and roll, and he just got arguably the best pick and roll point guard in the league next to him. The Nets have shooters like Sasha Vujacic and Anthony Morrow. But they are very much still a work in progress. This isn't going to be seamless, and the Nets will have some growing pains. But this was still a huge upgrade for the Nets and a no-brainer. Because of a simple fact: Deron Williams is an All-Star.

"Get an All-Star." That's been the Nets' objective since this summer: obtain an All-Star, because they are what sells tickets and wins games. Now they have it. Harris was expendable, clashing with coach Avery Johnson. Derrick Favors is a high-upside rookie, but this team wasn't angling for the future. It wants to win now. It had the picks to throw in for this deal. This was a no brainer. They gave up a meager set of assets in the long run for an All-Star point guard to put them on the map. They're no longer a hard sell for free agents, they're no longer a joke to the media, they're a player in the market, with the ability to make themselves into a contender over the next two seasons. Just in time for Brooklyn.

Grade: A+

Utah Jazz

We're going to need to bring in the trauma counselors for the Jazz fans.  In two weeks, they've lost their franchise institution coach for 22 years, and their starting All-Star point guard.  They're now left with Devin Harris and three big forwards.  They've gone from a Western Conference title contender (in some circles), to a second-rate team that may struggle to make the postseason. And worst of all, they have no real star. But they do have a lot of potential. It's clear that this move signifies an admission from Jazz management that they were not going to be able to sign Williams to an extension, and rather than subject themselves to a year like the Nuggets have gone through or worse a year like Cleveland in 2012, they chose to simply get the most they could right now. 

And they got a lot. Harris isn't Williams, by any stretch, but he's a fine point guard, and could thrive on a team with more talent like the Jazz. Favors is high-upside and a little redundant next to Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, but that could also allow them to move one of the two of them before the deadline or in the summer. That kind of flexibility is important going forward, and the Jazz are no longer bound to try and compete for Williams. They can elect to rebuild or try and swing for the fences with what they have. The Jazz were high on Favors in the draft, hoping he'd fall to ten. Sometimes you get your guy, just later. 

But in the end, this spells the end of an era for the Jazz. Or at least, the death rattle after Jerry Sloan's resignation spelled the mortal wound to said chapter. Things will never be the same again for the Jazz. They had a Hall of Fame coach, an All-Star point guard many considered the best in the league, and the ability to build around him to try and win a title. Now they find themselves among Cleveland, Toronto, and Denver, albeit with a better set of assets. Just another small market torn asunder by the new exodus of stars to their big-market counterparts. 

Grade: B

More Winners and Losers:

Winners:
Brook Lopez: As mentioned above, Lopez is a huge winner here.  His numbers should go up with Williams next to him.

Avery Johnson: Johnson may have been under scrutiny after this season for underperforming but now with Williams his prospects raise considerably. Of course, if he doesn't get it done with Williams, that will pretty much be it for Johnson.

Brooklyn basketball fans: You had to be worried about what kind of team you were getting. Now you know. One with an All-Star point guard. 

The Western Conference: They've now lost two All-Star competitors in two days.

Loser:

James Dolan: Let's see. You gave up four starters and a pick when you're a pick short for a gunning small forward who plays mediocre defense.  Your rival gave up two picks they can afford to trade, a point guard they were looking to dump, and a rookie for one of the best point guards in the league. Oh, and you look like a moron for bringing in Isiah Thomas. Great week, Jimmy.

Tyrone Corbin: Good luck with that, chief. 

Portland Trail Blazers: The Blazers were looking to get Harris for Andre Miller. They're likely to stand pat now
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:29 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 12:30 pm
 

Jazz trade Deron Williams, but why right now?

Posted by Royce Young



It took four excruciating months of hemming and hawing for Carmelo Anthony to get traded to the Knicks. It took a little less than 30 minutes for Deron Williams to go to the Nets.

In a stunning blockbuster, New Jersey acquire Williams, Utah gets Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two first-round picks. A third team was used as the Warriors get Troy Murphy for Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright.

The Nets chased Anthony for four months, trying to schedule meetings, trying to convince him to sign an extension. And after it all fell apart, that's when they got to work. Instead of bringing in Melo, the Nets one-upped the Knicks and got a cheaper and better player in Williams. Mikhail Prokhorov said he didn't care about the Melo situation in Los Angeles. Well, I guess we know why now. Because their Plan B was way better than Plan A.

Everyone is going to talk about the Nets and what an insanely slick move this is. They just nabbed one of the top players in the league and arguably the best point guard for less than they were going to give up for Melo. It's a terrific deal for New Jersey. Like, it couldn't be better.

But on the other end, people in Salt Lake City haven't moved for the last hour. A couple hundred thousand jaws dropped in unison. Deron Williams is gone. Their franchise player, gone. Just like that. And only a couple weeks after Jerry Sloan resigned after 23 years at the helm in Utah. At this point I think you could relocate the franchise and it would be less of a stomach punch than this.

So why? Why was Williams moved now? Why so soon after Sloan's resignation? Are the two things related? So, so many questions.

Williams was already being brought up in talks that he wanted to go to New York in 2012 when he could opt out of his contract, as reported by Ken Berger. So really, the Jazz had the rest of this year and then one more guaranteed season with Williams. And we know what was coming in 2012. Deron Williams would most definitely be the new Carmelo Anthony. Questions every day about his future, rumors flying constantly out of Salt Lake -- it was going to happen.

And the Jazz played their trump card early. They nipped it in the bud. Instead of spending half a season dragging themselves down with trade and extension talks, the Jazz just got rid of the problem before it started.

Utah wasn't going anywhere this season. The offseason move of acquiring Al Jefferson wasn't working out and the team had been slipping since December. Really, this year was kind of a lost cause. Utah could look forward to next year, but again, it would be a year of Derondrama, and that wanted to be avoided. So a deal was made.

Clearly, general manager Kevin O'Conner wasn't confident in Utah's chances of re-signing Williams. I don't need to say that because it's pretty obvious with the deal. But the Jazz aren't a franchise that gets played. They've been successful for a quarter of a century with only a few minor hiccups here and there. They absolutely did not get back equal value for Williams, but they did get a solid package. They'll have to rebuild, which is something they aren't scared of doing.

Because now, Williams is New Jersey's problem. There's no guarantee (that we know of yet) of him signing an extension with the Nets. I'm sure Prokhorov and Billy King figure that will happen, otherwise they don't make this deal, but we don't know for sure. By the sound of it, Williams wasn't really asked. Jazz radio man David Locke tweeted that it wasn't Williams' choice to move and that he was stunned by it. So are we, Deron.

On top of it all, Williams was a bit of a problem child. He had major dust-ups with Sloan, didn't always get along with management and ownership and while he completely embraced the Jazz and Utah, he had some attitude. And the Jazz aren't an organization that routinely works through those type of things. So when you start to pile all of this on top of each other, it starts making more and more sense.

There's potential this works out for Utah. They loved Favors before the draft, got a quality point guard in Devin Harris and two first-round picks that will likely be high. They foundation of Utah has been shaken if not destroyed over the past month, but there's a clear effort to rebuild. And I guess it had to start with getting rid of the team's best player. Williams helped nudge Jerry Sloan out the door and just a few weeks later, he was packing too.

But here's the good news Utah: You've just got a lot better chance at getting Jimmer Fredette now.
Posted on: February 23, 2011 11:12 am
Edited on: February 23, 2011 11:22 am
 

Trade Deadline: Deron Williams traded to Nets

Deron Williams traded to Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round picks.
Posted by Matt Moore

Breaking news this morning as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirms a Bergen Record and Yahoo! Sports report that Deron Williams has been traded to the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first round picks. It's a three way trade in which Troy Murphy is also being traded to the Golden State Warriors for Brendan Wright and Dan Gadzuric

It's a stunning development coming just days after Berger reported that Williams told associates last summer that he looked to play in New York with Amar'e Stoudemire. It's clear now Williams has been seeking a bigger market. He just got one. And the Nets now have their superstar. More coming shortly on this breaking story. 
 
 
 
 
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