The Utah Jazz have so far been unable to get coach Ty Corbin his first win, and the team's star point guard won't be around anymore to help him earn the elusive victory.
Hours after the stunning trade of Deron Williams to New Jersey, the Jazz take on the hottest team in the NBA in the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.
Williams was dealt to the Nets in a three-way deal Wednesday morning, with Utah acquiring point guard Devin Harris and rookie forward Derrick Favors from New Jersey. Williams, who has spent all of his six NBA seasons with the Jazz, is averaging a career-high 21.3 points along with 9.7 assists.
The Jazz (31-26) were a perennial contender with Williams, but his reputation took a hit in Utah when Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan retired the day after a clash with him during a game. Williams was also expected to be one of the headliners of the 2012 free agent class, and the Jazz risked losing him for nothing.
"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," 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."
Harris, who spent nearly four seasons with Dallas to start his career from 2004-08, is averaging 15.0 points and a career-high 7.6 assists. Favors, the third overall pick in last year's draft, is averaging 6.3 points and 5.3 rebounds.
It's uncertain if either player will be available Wednesday to help Utah try to end a four-game losing streak. Corbin is 0-3 since taking over for Sloan on Feb. 10, and injury problems aren't helping the Jazz, who have dropped 13 of 17.
Utah lost its last two games by a combined eight points, falling 107-100 to Golden State on Wednesday. Forward Andrei Kirilenko (sprained ankle) and guards Raja Bell (strained calf) and Ronnie Price (sprained toe) were out.
Kirilenko has been ruled out for Wednesday, while Price and Bell will be game-time decisions.
"We have to stay strong, stay confident," Corbin said. "I believe in these guys."
Only three teams entered the All-Star break with a better record than the Mavericks (40-16), who are 13-1 since Jan. 22, best in the NBA during that span. Their only loss in that period was 121-120 at Denver on Feb. 10.
Dallas will be looking to win its eighth straight at home Wednesday.
"All the injuries we've been through, the ups and downs. To be able to keep our composure and be one of four teams to get to 40 (wins) before the All-Star break is a big time accomplishment for us," center Tyson Chandler told the Mavericks' official website after a 112-106 victory over Phoenix on Thursday.
The Mavericks are second in the West, six games behind San Antonio.
Dirk Nowitzki turned in one of his best performances of the season in Dallas' final game before the break, scoring 35 points and going 13 of 18 from the field in the victory over the Suns. It was his first 30-point game since Jan. 17.
"Dirk's back," coach Rick Carlisle said of Nowitzki, who missed nine games from Dec. 28-Jan. 14 due to a knee injury. "He's all the way back and it's great."
Chandler has shot 79.4 percent from the floor in his last five games. He had 12 points and 12 rebounds versus Phoenix.
Dallas has won both meetings with Utah this season, taking the most recent one 103-97 at the American Airlines Center on Dec. 11. Nowitzki had 31 points and 15 rebounds and has averaged 29.8 points and 8.6 boards in his last eight games against the Jazz.
Utah has lost six of seven in Dallas. Williams had averaged 24.8 points and shot 48.2 percent in his last five road games in the series.