SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz have traded All-Star guard Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for rookie Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris and two future first-round picks.
Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor confirmed the deal Wednesday, saying it was a win-win situation.
The deal comes 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.
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.
The Jazz were a perennial contender with Williams, but his reputation took a hit when coach Jerry Sloan retired one day after clashing with him during a game.
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.
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.
The trade was a stunner on the day before the NBA’s trading deadline. Williams was expecting to play with the Mavs in his hometown of Dallas when the deal was agreed to.
“Utah traded DWill??” Paul wrote on his Twitter page, adding hashtags with “EpicFail” and “notagoodlook.”
The Nets were expected to be active at the deadline and are sending two first-round draft picks to Utah as part of the deal, according to The Record report.
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.
Copyright Associated Press