Remember when Deron Williams was traded from the Utah Jazz to the New Jersey Nets and no one had any idea it was going to happen until it did? That was crazy. Out-of-nowhere trades rarely happen in today’s NBA. Usually we have to wait for months of hemming and hawing and rejected proposals before it’s all said and done. Not this time. It was quick, unexpected and really pretty cool.
And it wasn’t just the fact that it was unexpected, either. It’s also that the Jazz actually traded their superstar, their cornerstone, their link to the Stockton-to-Malone days. It was incredible, and now that we’re a week removed from the trade, the details of what actually happened are coming out. In fact, the Salt Lake Tribune’s got an excellent blow-by-blow description of the inner workings behind the trade. The whole thing’s great, but this is the killer.
The Jazz had spent the weeks leading up to Anthony’s trade gauging Williams’ market value — a process that started after teams began dialing Utah’s number when news of Williams’ season long clashes with Sloan went public, as opponents tried to sweep in and steal the disgruntled guard.
Once Anthony was finally moved, the Jazz cashed in. Utah spent the night leading up to Williams’ trade contemplating the decision, weighing whether a team that started the season 27-13 was for real, or really just one that would face another disappointing first-round playoff exit. But once the Jazz realized what was on the table — a future-laden deal that contained as little risk as possible, and one that would immediately send Williams and his mounting problems packing —Utah did not hesitate.
Moreover, by intentionally keeping the trade as quiet as possible, the Jazz negated any leverage Williams still held. By not allowing him to first go public and back the organization into a corner if he disapproved of the move, Utah was able to completely elude the 24-7 Internet rumor mill and discreetly pull off the most shocking trade of the season.
That last part is the best part. The Jazz kept everything quiet, and by doing so, they were able to get a nice deal for their franchise guard. If any part of this had been leaked to the media, Williams’ trade value plummets and the Jazz end up with Jordan Farmar running the point. Not good, but yes good the way they handled it.
Go read the whole thing, it’s great. There are talks about when the Jazz knew it was time to get rid of Williams, about how the Jazz doubted him as a franchise player and even how their new head coach, Ty Corbin, didn’t know the trade was happening. Between this article and Adrian Wojnarowski telling theScore’s Bomani Jones that the Nets inquiring about Williams started as a joke, this is easily the most fascinating trade this season.