Breaking down the Deron Williams trade

Utah Jazz Deron Williams drives calls out a play against the Washington Wizards during the first half at the Verizon Center in Washington on January 17, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Holy surprise blockbuster, Batman! The Nets just acquired Deron Williams.

Al Iannazzone of NorthJersey.com broke the story:

The Nets have acquired All-Star point guard Deron Williams in an out-of-the-blue blockbuster. In the deal, the Nets will send Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and two No. 1 picks to the Utah Jazz. Williams is averaging 21.3 points and is third in the league in assists, dishing 9.7 per game.

The deal has been agreed upon. It’s pending league approval and everyone passing their physicals.

Nets fans should be dancing in the streets. The team missed out on Carmelo Anthony, but I believe that Williams is actually a better acquisition for the franchise, assuming he doesn’t bolt after the 2011-12 season.

This is a curious move for the Jazz, who are giving up a two-time All-NBA 2nd Teamer, and a player who has been jockeying with Chris Paul for best point guard in the league honors for the last couple of seasons. He’s a franchise player, and the Nets just wrestled him away for Devin Harris, a raw prospect, and two first round draft picks. Favors is a nice acquisition, but the Jazz are already set at power forward with Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. I guess the idea is that Harris isn’t too much of a downgrade from Williams — only he is — while Favors can develop in a supporting role behind Millsap and Jefferson, and eventually turn into a star. For this to work out for the Jazz, Favors needs to develop into an All-Star and Utah has to strike gold with at least one of those draft picks.

Williams clearly burned some bridges this season with his role in the Jerry Sloan resignation along with the rumors that he wanted to join the Knicks in 2012. The Nets are in a good position to add another top tier free agent that summer if they stay the course financially, even with a new collective bargaining agreement. So they have a decent shot at keeping him around for the long-term, especially with their pending move to Brooklyn.

What they don’t need are any more contracts like the one they gave Travis Outlaw last summer that averages $7 million a season. That deal really made me question the Nets’ decision-making, but this trade for Williams more than made up for it. Other than Outlaw, the Nets don’t have any contracts that extend past the 2012-13 season, so there’s an opportunity to quickly remake this roster and turn it into a winner.

After missing out on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in the last eight months, it sure looked like the Nets would always be the bridesmaid and never the bride, but today they are the bride, and in a big way.

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