Deron Williams was traded today to the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, two first round picks, and 3 million dollars in cash.
Most Jazz fans with whom I have consulted are all angry that Jazz management would dare trade away their superstar. I say, "good on you, Mr. Miller! That was a great trade!" Here are the reasons why:
1. Deron Williams was going to leave the Jazz in 2012. Period, end of story. He was not happy in Utah; that much is clear. He has been accused of running legendary coach Jerry Sloan out of town with his cantankerous attitude and a propensity to argue with the former coach. Whether or not that rumor has any substance is yet to be seen. However, Deron Williams was clearly not happy here. He openly expressed displeasure when the Jazz let go close friends and serviceable swingmen Ronnie Brewer and Wesley Matthews. He complained that the Jazz didn't do everything that they could to keep those key contributers. He cited the small market and the lack of desire from management to pay to keep players (though current evidence may point to the contrary. See: Paul Millsap). Had Williams left in 2012, the Jazz would not have received anything in return and would have been forced to move Gordy Hayward to the point and rely more on Hail Marys than on personnel to win games.
Getting Derrick Favors is the biggest boon in this trade for the Jazz. He is a possible up-and-coming superstar with more potential than anyone currently on the Utah roster. The greatest thing about this addition is the presence of Favors on the Jazz is that it makes other frontcourt assets expendable in trades by the upcoming (tomorrow) deadline (Kirilenko, Millsap, Okur, Elson, K-Fes, etc.). Kevin O'Connor's phone will be ringing off the hook with offers from GMs around the league hoping to get Millsap for cheap, Kirilenko's expiring contract, spare PGs Earl Watson or Ronnie Price, a few of the recently acquired draft picks, or any other possible combination of the various pieces making up the rest of the Jazz roster.
2. Williams' replacement, Devin Harris is still an above average NBA point guard. He is a former all-star putting up respectable numbers this year: 15.0 ppg and 7.6 apg. Though these fall below Williams' ridiculous 22 ppg and 10 apg, they are still plenty to put them over the top of certain other point guards in the league. He is not an upper-echelon PG, but the Jazz could do MUCH worse than DH filling in for D-Will.
3. The Jazz received two first-round draft picks, one from the Warriors and the other from the Nets, in exchange for Williams. This will help the Jazz to reload. FAST. The only thing Jazz fans can hope for is that management will go after a more high-octane, proven player that can lend more in a more immediate fashion than K-Fes.
4. The Jazz also received 3 million buckaroos in cash, which can be a huge aid for a team currently paying the luxury tax. Though Kirilenko's contract will soon be off the books, $3 million is $3 million.
Downside for the Nets: D will leave in 2012. My gut says he's looking to win. New Jersey hasn't won since Shaq was still The Diesel, Kobe was second chair fiddle, Reggie Miller was still the man in Indiana, and John Stockton was still in the league. Not exactly a stellar track record, if you ask me. Deron will sign with another team with a better chance to make the playoffs and may even head up to New York and sign on with 'Melo and Amar'e. If he does so, he'll need to add an apostrophe to his name somehow.... maybe D'ron or something like that.
Anyways...... long boring rant has now ended. This is as great as a move that can be made with a team trading away its centerpiece and superstar. No team can guage it a success when they trade away their leading scorer and playmaker. However, as far as deals of that nature go, this was a good one.