At first glance, the thesis of Isiah Thomas pulling the strings on the Knicks makes sense. The Knicks giving up 4/5 of their starting lineup for two players while the Nets gave up less for a better player – that is definitely something Isiah would do. That cynicism aside, this deal is a bit more complicated. While we’re at it, we’ll add Golden State into the soup:
The Nets get Deron Williams, Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright
The Warriors get Troy Murphy
The Jazz get Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, the Nets unprotected 2011 first round pick and a Top 7 protected pick from the Warriors. (At this second, the Warriors have the 11th worst record in the league – so there is a half-decent chance the Jazz will get to cash this in.)
The Warriors get Troy Murphy’s expiring salary and were able to dump Brandan Wright – whom they had no plans for, and Dan Gadzuric’s toxic contract. This was a cap clearing move – hooray them.
For the Jazz, this is a weird deal. They had considerable leverage with Deron Williams – with Jerry Sloan leaving, it seemed they could have tried to rebuild in a manner to keep him around. Yet they jumped ship on the deal. That said, they got a ton back for him. Devin Harris is a legitimate NBA starting point guard. Whether he is very good or just solid good is up to the observer – but he is young and he can play. Derrick Favors is a huge upside big with defensive ability – the Jazz bigs currently are solid upside bigs with no defensive ability. It’s a complimentary skill set, which we like.
The Nets ultimately are placing a massive bet on the collective bargaining agreement. If the cap is lowered, or a franchise provision is put in – the Nets will have made out great. If Deron Williams can just leave willy nilly – this is a ho-ho-horrendous move. The downside – as Stephen A Smith wrote in his usual “I wrote this in crayon” sort of way:
Next season is an entirely different matter, specifically because Williams will be in the last year of his deal and can opt out of his contract in 2012. The disaster scenario is staring Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov squarely in the face. It’s a scenario that could have Williams, from a vantage point just across the Hudson River, witnessing the resurgence of a Knicks franchise inching to within an All-Star point guard of legitimate championship contention. Now imagine Williams as the missing piece, with Gotham City clamoring for his arrival.
Actually – maybe he wrote it in magazine clippings like mass murderers on TV movies do, but I digress. That is the obvious downside – that Deron Williams takes his show somewhere else because he does not want to wait for Team Rocka to show up in Crooklyn in two years. But with the rumbles on the labor front – there is a better chance the Nets will keep Williams than there is that he will be anywhere else – and certainly better than the odds of Stephen A’s wet dream coming true.
The Nets are not close to a title from this move. But then, neither are the Knicks despite bleating to the contrary. (if they manned up and dealt Chauncey for Steve Nash, things might change) But in the long run, they have a bit more movement potential than the Knicks do. Either way, it will be interesting.
A smaller trade of note, something more in the line of what you’d expect around the deadline, a pseudo-contender trying to position themselves:
Hornets get Carl Landry
Kings get Marcus Thornton and $$$
For the Hornets, they want to win as much as possible while they still have Chris Paul. Carl Landry gives them a potentially huge weapon for their desperately thin frontcourt. Off the bench, he was brilliant for the Rockets in the past – he can do that here.
For the Kings, they get a fun bench gunner and a lot of money. I have nothing else to add.