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 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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Carmelo meets with the Knicks, denies meeting with the Nets


Carmelo Anthony and New York Knicks owner James Dolan met on Thursday night in Los Angeles, the New York Daily News reported on Friday afternoon.

The newspaper also reported that the executive of the Knicks and Denver Nuggets were set to hold a conference call on Friday afternoon to discuss a deal involving Anthony, who has been the subject of trade rumors to the Knicks and New Jersey Nets for the past several months.

As for the Nets…

Anthony, speaking Friday at a NBA Cares Day of Service event in Los Angeles, said “no meeting at all” is scheduled with the Nets. Calling it “news to me,” Anthony said: “If I was to meet with that guy [Prokhorov] to be honest I really don’t know what I would say.”

“If I was to meet with that guy…”


So both Prokhorov’s spokeswoman and Anthony are denying that there’s a meeting scheduled, yet there are reports that the Nets and Nuggets have come to terms on a deal.

I can’t wait for this to be over.

Nets, Nuggets have a deal in place — will Carmelo agree to extension?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the Nets and Nuggets have agreed to terms on a deal that would bring Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey/Brooklyn.

The Nets and Nuggets are discussing a deal that would send Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Melvin Ely, Renaldo Balkman and Shelden Williams to the Nets for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Troy Murphy, Ben Uzoh and four first-round draft picks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday night.

The Nuggets are expected to move Murphy and his $12 million expiring contract to a third team and sweeten the deal with one or two of the Nets’ draft picks.

Here’s how the trade looks in the ESPN Trade Machine. (Click the picture to see it at ESPN.)

Keep in mind that in addition to Harris and Favors, the Nuggets would get four first round picks from the Nets. They’re expected to send one or two of those along with Troy Murphy to a third team to get rid of his salary. If they’re successful, they’ll shave $20 million off of this year’s payroll (though most of that money has already been paid to the players).

It will be interesting to see how the Nets come up with four first round picks. They currently own the 6th-worst record in the league, so their own pick could be very valuable, but the Warriors’ 2011 pick that they acquired as part of the Marcus Williams trade is protected through 2013 before it turns into a pair of second round picks.

This looks like the best deal available for the Nuggets, who apparently covet Favors. The only thing that seems to be standing in the way is Anthony agreeing to sign a three-year extension to play for the Nets. If he does, the Knicks will be out of the running. If he doesn’t, then I think the Knicks and Nuggets will get something done before the trade deadline. The Nuggets are truly at Carmelo’s mercy at the moment.

Carmelo, Prokhorov to meet over All-Star Weekend

Marc Stein sifts through the latest Carmelo trade buzz for ESPN:

Although details of a formally scheduled meeting have yet to emerge, Denver officials are operating under the assumption that Melo and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov will finally meet face-to-face during All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, according to sources close to the process. The Nuggets encourage that meeting, sources say, because trading with New Jersey has always been more favorable to Denver than dealing with New York and because the Nuggets — who still like New Jersey’s Derrick Favors better than any player who’s been made available to them in the months-long Melo trade saga — know that the Nets remain unwilling to participate in a trade unless Anthony also commits to an extension in New Jersey.

This is the same billionaire who pulled out of the Carmelo trade talks earlier this season because he felt like his team was distracted and was potentially being used to spur negotiations with the Knicks. That may still be the case, but the trade deadline is fast approaching and if Prokhorov can sell Carmelo on the idea of playing in Brooklyn, the Nets and Nuggets may be able to make a deal because the Nuggets want Favors. Keep in mind that Prokhorov’s spokesperson says that nothing has changed with regard to the Nets’ non-pursuit of Anthony.

Meanwhile, Knicks GM Donnie Walsh is dealing with owner James Dolan, who may be more willing to gut the roster to acquire Anthony before the deadline. Carmelo’s meeting with the Nets has to be putting the pressure on Walsh to make a deal, though the Knicks are also expected to meet with Anthony in Los Angeles.

If Prokhorov is smart (and he is), he should bring part owner Jay-Z to help sell the Nets franchise. Who knows, maybe Carmelo will be as impressed by Prokhorov as LeBron was last summer.

Nets re-enter the Carmelo fray

Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony (L) moves against the New York Knicks guard/forward Landry Fields during the first quarter at the Pepsi Center in Denver on November 16, 2010. UPI/Gary C. Caskey

Chris Broussard of ESPN is reporting that the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets have reignited the Carmelo Anthony trade talks.

While Anthony would prefer playing in New York, sources say he has grown frustrated with the Knicks’ inability to pull off the trade, especially when reports out of New York suggest the Knicks are hesitant to exchange a collection of role players for him.

Sources close to Anthony have long said he would be willing to go to New York as a free agent this summer and thereby risk losing tens of millions of dollars under a new collective bargaining agreement, but as the trade deadline has drawn near, Anthony’s willingness to leave that type of money on the table has seemed to wane. That’s what New Jersey is banking on.

At the very least, New Jersey’s re-entry into trade discussions would seem to drive up the price for the Knicks. Denver likes Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Landry Fields and Timofey Mozgov and wants two, if not three, of those players in a deal, as well as point guard Raymond Felton in exchange for Chauncey Billups. Any deal between the Knicks and Nuggets is also likely to include a first-round pick from Minnesota that the Timberwolves would give up in exchange for New York’s Anthony Randolph. But the Knicks are reluctant to part with two, much less three, rotation players.

Knicks owner James Dolan, however, badly wants to acquire Anthony before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, and sources say he has been pushing team president Donnie Walsh to get a deal done. Walsh and head coach Mike D’Antoni do not want to decimate their roster to get Anthony, especially since they’ve been confident that Anthony would sign with New York as a free agent this summer. But now that New Jersey is back in the mix, the Knicks’ leverage has declined.

This could turn out to be a savvy move by Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. He felt like his team was getting played by the Nuggets and/or Carmelo, and he ordered management to back off. Now that the trade deadline is quickly approaching, he sees that the Knicks may get Anthony for nearly nothing, and by reentering trade talks, at the very least he should be able to drive the price up on any forthcoming Knicks/Nuggets trade, hurting the rival Knicks long term. The best case scenario is that he acquires Carmelo and convinces him to sign that much-ballyhooed three-year extension worth $65 million.

As for Carmelo’s frustration that the Knicks haven’t already gotten a deal done, Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni only want to ensure that there’s a supporting cast present once New York’s new star finally walks into the Knicks’ locker room. Most stars wouldn’t want to be traded to a team that is decimated by the trade, but I think at this point Carmelo just wants to play in New York, supporting cast be damned.

In the end, New Jersey definitely has more to offer, but it’s not clear how willing Carmelo is to play for the Nets long term. Without that commitment in place, the Nets are unlikely to move forward since there’s no point in renting Anthony for a playoff run. The Nets may have more to offer, but no deal will get done without Anthony’s three-year commitment.

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