NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Better than ‘Melo?
After whiffing on Carmelo Anthony for the third time, the Nets made a big splash Wednesday by landing Utah Jazz star Deron Williams in a three-team deal.
“We are very excited to add a player the caliber of Deron Williams to our roster,” Nets general manager Billy King said in a statement.
The Nets will send Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and two first-round draft picks to Utah for Williams.
As part of the deal, the Golden State Warriors will send Brandan Wright and Dan Gadzuric to the Nets in exchange for Troy Murphy.
The trade was a stunner on the day before the NBA’s trading deadline. Williams was expecting to play with the Mavericks in his hometown of Dallas when the deal was agreed to.
“Utah traded DWill??” Chris Paul wrote on his Twitter page, adding hashtags with “EpicFail” and “notagoodlook.”
Harris, a former All-Star point guard, and Favors, the No. 3 pick in the draft, were part of the package the Nets were offering the Nuggets all season for Anthony. While they couldn’t get Denver’s All-Star forward, Wednesday’s trade stole some of the spotlight from the rival Knicks on the night Anthony arrives at Madison Square Garden.
The Jazz 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.
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Williams was expected to be one of the headliners of the 2012 free agent class along with 2008 Olympic teammates Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, and the small-market Jazz could have faced losing him for nothing.
The Nets now hope Williams will sign a contract extension with them, which they can offer this summer. If so, he would become the face of their franchise when they move into their new arena in Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season.
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New Jersey has been desperate to make its first score under new Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The Nets talked with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh last summer and when that failed they turned their attention to Anthony. They quickly bounced back from the disappointment of missing out on him with Williams, who is averaging 21.3 points and 9.7 assists.
Williams joins the exodus of top West players heading East, following Amare Stoudemire’s move from Phoenix to New York and Anthony’s deal to the Knicks. The Jazz are only a half-game ahead of Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West and will have to try to hold on without their best player.
Nets fans: Who would you rather have, Deron Williams or Carmelo Anthony? Sound off in the comments below!
Statement From The Nets:
The New Jersey Nets have acquired two-time All-Star guard Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz in exchange for guard Devin Harris, forward Derrick Favors, two first round draft picks (Nets 2011, Golden State 2012) and cash considerations, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.
“We are very excited to add a player the caliber of Deron Williams to our roster,” said King. “He is one of the premier point guards in the NBA, and his skill and talent level will bolster our franchise as we continue to build towards our goal of becoming a championship-caliber team.”
Williams, 6’3”, 209, was selected third overall in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft by Utah. The Illinois product is currently in his sixth NBA season and holds career averages of 17.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 1.0 steals in 35.6 minutes per game. In 439 career games, including 406 starts, he has shot .466 (2,725-5,848) from the field, .358 (511-1,427) from three-point range and .808 (1,615-1,998) from the free throw line. In 44 career postseason games, Williams has averaged 21.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 9.6 assists and 1.2 steals 40.4 minutes, while shooting .458 (308-672) from the field and .796 (238-299) from the line. Williams is a two-time All Star (2010 and 2011), made the All-NBA Second Team in 2008 and 2010, won a gold medal as part of the Team USA at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, was a member of the All-Rookie First Team in 2006 and became only the third player in NBA history to have 1500+ points and 800+ assists while shooting .500+ from the field in a single season in 2007-08 (Magic Johnson, 1986-87, 1988-89 and Kevin Johnson, 1988-89). He ranked fourth on Utah’s career assists list (4,003), fifth for three-pointers made (511) and fourth for three-pointers attempted (1,427). In 53 games with the Jazz this season, Williams averaged a career-best 21.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 9.7 assists (3rd in the NBA) and 1.2 steals in 37.9 minutes. He also tallied 27 double-doubles (7th in the NBA).
Harris, a 6’3”, 190-pound guard currently in his seventh NBA season, is averaging 15.0 points, 2.4 rebounds, a career-high 7.6 assists (ranked 11th) and 1.06 steals while shooting 42.5% from the field in 54 games. The Wisconsin native was acquired by the Nets on February 19, 2008 from Dallas as part of a multi-player trade. In 2008-09, Harris enjoyed his best NBA season, averaging 21.3 points and 6.9 assists, while being named to the 2009 Eastern Conference All-Star Team. In parts of four seasons with the Nets, Harris played in 212 games, averaging 17.7 points, 6.9 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. He is currently on five Nets individual career Top 10 lists, 10th in three-point field goals made at 188, 9th in three-point field goals attempted at 644, 9th in free throws made at 1,403, 10th in free throws attempted at 1,366 and 6th in assists at 1,473. In 463 career games, including 329 starts, Harris has posted averages of 13.2 points and 5.0 assists per contest.
Favors, selected third overall by the Nets in 2010 NBA Draft, has played in 56 games, making 23 starts for New Jersey in his rookie season. The 6’10” forward out of Georgia Tech has averages of 6.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game.
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