Nets land Williams from Jazz in blockbuster

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SALT LAKE CITY | The New Jersey Nets finally landed a big-name All-Star in a blockbuster trade that gives them point guard Deron Williams and sends rookie Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris to the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz also will receive the Nets‘ first-round pick in 2011, which could be a lottery pick, cash, and Golden State’s 2012 first-round draft pick.

“I feel Deron Williams is the best point guard in the NBA,” Nets general manager Billy King said in officially announcing the blockbuster deal Wednesday afternoon.

“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. Jason Kidd turned this franchise around when he came and we feel Deron can do the same thing.”

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.

The 6-foot-3 Williams was selected third overall in the first round of the 2005 NBA draft by Utah from Illinois. He is in his sixth NBA season and holds career averages of 17.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 9.1 assists.

In 439 career games, including 406 starts, he has shot .466 from the field, .358 from 3-point range and .808 from the free throw line. In 44 career postseason games, Williams has averaged 21.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 9.6 assists 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.

Jazz CEO Greg Miller said he made the move because of a “gut feeling” that he wouldn’t be able to sign Williams to a long-term deal after next season.

“If you look at what happened with Phoenix, Toronto and Cleveland … they all lost their marquee player and had very little if anything to show for it,” Miller said. “This trade allows us to be competitive now and beyond the 2012 season.”

Asked how he would be able to market a team in Salt Lake City without a star, Miller said with “classic Jazz basketball.”

“It’s lunchpail, work boots … and everybody’s got to overachieve, which we’ve been known to do for many years,” Miller said. “And who knows, we may have a star player before any of us realizes it.”

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.

“Everybody was talking about getting longer and athletic and when are you going to get one of these guys,” said Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor, who hinted that he may not be done dealing before Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline. “We got one now (in Favors) and we’ll see how he progresses. He’s not a finished product but at least it’s somebody we can build on.”

Both GMs said they discussed a deal several weeks ago, but it only came to fruition after the Nets lost out on Anthony.

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