NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — A day after the Knicks introduced Carmelo Anthony, the Nets introduced Deron Williams to the local media.
While saying he had gotten over the shock of being traded to New Jersey and was excited about the future of the franchise after talking with coach Avery Johnson and general manager Billy King, Williams refused to hint whether he would opt out of his contract after the 2012 season.
Williams is scheduled to make $17.4 million in 2012, but he can walk away from that deal after next season.
If he does opt out, he might run into problems with a new contract. The current collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union expires after this season, and Williams may not be able to earn as much if maximum salaries are reduced in a new deal.
Williams was acquired by the Nets from Utah on Tuesday in a deal for Devin Harris, rookie Derrick Favors and two first-round draft picks and $3 million in cash.
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“I feel Deron Williams is the best point guard in the NBA,” Nets general manager Billy King said in announcing the deal Wednesday. “I spoke with Deron and he’s excited about it. He understands where we are and where we want to go. In this league, you win with point guards.”
“We feel really good about Deron now and in the future, and that’s why we made this deal,” Nets coach Avery Johnson told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton Thursday. “We’re not going to let anything muddle the waters or our celebration today about him supposedly leaving us in a year and a half.”
The 6-foot-3 Williams was selected third overall in 2005 out of Illinois, and he’s averaged 17.3 points, 9.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds for the Jazz. Williams has been even better in 44 postseason games, with averages of 21.1 points, 9.6 asissts and 1.2 steals.
The deal came two days after the Nets failed to land Carmelo Anthony, who was acquired by the New York Knicks as part of a blockbuster deal with the Denver Nuggets.
Both GMs said they discussed a deal several weeks ago, but it only came to fruition after the Nets lost out on Anthony. O’Connor acknowledged cash was part of the deal and the maximum that can change hands is $3 million.
New Jersey has been desperate to make its first score under new owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The Nets talked with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh last summer, then turned their attention to Anthony, before bouncing back and finally landing Williams.
Williams joins an exodus of players heading to the East, following Amar’e Stoudemire’s move from Phoenix to New York and Anthony’s deal to the Knicks.
“Very rarely are you able to trade for someone who is arguably the best at his position,” Johnson said. “We had to give up a lot, but when you get a chance to get him, you go for it. It wasn’t a planned trade. This wasn’t a plan B. He’s a plan A guy.
“We eventually had to do something like this to get a player of this skill level,” Johnson said. “We felt we needed to get someone who was going to give us a little swagger. He’s someone we will have for the long run. Sometimes, you have to try things to get better.”
Will Deron stay with the Nets long-term? Let us know what you think in the comments below…
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