A person with knowledge of the trade says the New Jersey Nets agreed to acquire All-Star point guard Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz on Wednesday in a surprising deal the day before the deadline.
The Nets are sending rookie Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris to the Jazz as part of the package in a deal that also includes the Golden State Warriors.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced. It was first reported by The Record of Bergen County, N.J.
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. While they couldn’t get Denver’s All-Star forward, Wednesday’s trade stole some of the spotlight from the rival Knicks on the night Anthony arrives at Madison Square Garden.
The Jazz were a perennial contender with Williams, but his reputation took a hit in Utah when Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan retired the day after a clash 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.
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