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The newest Nets was introduced to the media on Thursday and though Deron Williams was unable to guarantee that he will sign an extension when he is allowed to under league rules, he did put to bed any concerns about his attitude.
His first words to a group of waiting reporters should have said it all when he exclaimed "I'm excited to be a Net!"
Williams also seemed impressed with the long-term plan that GM Billy King and head coach Avery Johnson have for these New Jersey Nets, led by the All-Star point guard.
"It got me excited about the possibilities of competing for a championship in the next couple of years," Williams said.
Before anyone things the new face of the franchise is writing off this season, Williams used the "P" word when talking about this season.
"This year, trying to make a playoff push, seeing as close as we can get to doing that. I'm just really excited about the opportunity."
When you are dealing with a 17-40 team, the playoffs aren't often spoken about in the present tense, but Williams talked about how he has never been on a losing team in his career.
The most difficult thing facing the Nets -- other than the 40 losses -- is time as they only have 25 games left on the schedule and will need to make up 10 games in the loss column to snag the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
It will take a near-miracle for New Jersey to make a run a legitimate run for the playoffs, but it's a promising start for Nets fans to hear the only thing on Williams' mind right now is winning.
Deron Williams, acquired by the New Jersey Nets from the Utah Jazz Wednesday in a surprising blockbuster trade, said Thursday he won't commit to signing a new deal with the Nets once his contract runs out after the 2012 season.
"I can't really give any assurances, or say that I'll be here — I don't know what the future holds, I look forward to the possibility of it, it's definitely a strong possibility. It all depends on how the next year goes — CBA, the type of moves we make and the people we bring into this organization."
Williams is a 26-year-old star, and he will have options when it comes to where to play once his contract is up after next season. It would make no sense for him to commit long-term to the Nets, a team that won just 12 games a year ago and is currently one of the worst in the league with a 17-40 record, until he sees if the franchise can deliver on promises it has made him to seek top-tier talent to put around him.
"I told him what we have, $19 million in cap space this summer, we still have picks. … I said, ‘We’re going to build something special and you’re going to help lead us this way.’ And he’s excited about it," said Nets General Manager Billy King.
The Nets and Jazz kept this deal incredibly quiet, so quiet in fact that Williams had no idea he was on the market and found out from ESPN's SportsCenter that he had been traded. He denied initial reports that he was not happy about the trade, simply saying the trade was a "shock."
"At first it was a little bit of shock, but after talking to (GM) Billy King, talking to coach (Avery) Johnson, and just seeing the direction that they want to go in and the vision for their organization , it just really got me excited about the possibilities of competing for a championship in the next couple of years.
"They're very ambitious in going after a lot of guys, I'm going to help with that as well."
The deal gives the Nets a chance to be relevant again on the NBA landscape, something they have not been since the days of Jason Kidd and Keith Van Horn. They have the rest of this season and next to capitalize. Let's see if they can.
So, just exactly why would the Utah Jazz trade a 26-year-old franchise point guard who was averaging 21.3 points and 9.7 assists per game? The reality is that the Jazz felt like they had no choice.
Williams had one year left on a three-year Jazz contract, and the team felt he was not going to stay in Utah following the 2012 season.
“The focus we really basically had was, ‘What was the percentage that Deron would stay or not stay and how close to 100 percent on the return was this deal?’ We felt it was really close and, therefore, it wasn’t worth the risk," said Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Connor.
O’Connor appeared on KFAN in Salt Lake City with Scott Garrard to discuss the trade, in which the Nets sent point guard Devin Harris and power forward Derrick Favors, the third overall pick in the 2010 draft, to Utah. Sports Radio Interviews has the full transcript.
“He’s [Favors] a big, raw, young player. … But what we look at is physicality, athleticism and size. Those three things he’s got and those three things are difficult to come by. … We got a young one and let’s see how he develops. … Those steps that he’s got to take and they’re going to be baby steps because he’s not ready yet," O’Connor said. "But what we did get was Devin Harris who’s a good point guard, an upper-tier point guard, who certainly helped Dallas win a lot of games and then got caught up in a rebuilding process.”
After stunning the NBA world by acquiring All-Star Deron Williams, the New Jersey Nets made a move that had been anticipated for weeks by trading Troy Murphy to the Golden State Warriors along with a 2012 second-round draft pick.
General Manager Billy King said in statement that both players bring different qualities to New Jersey.
"Dan is an NBA veteran who will add depth to our front-court rotation, while Brandan is a young player who we feel has significant room to grow and develop in our system."
All three players involved are in the final year of their contracts with Murphy due to be bought out by the Warriors while Gadzuric is nothing more than roster filler for New Jersey. Wright, on the other hand, should see much more time than he did so far this season for Golden State.
A lottery pick in 2007, Wright is still just 23 years old but has been held back by injuries throughout his young career. He has only appeared in 21 games this season, averaging four points and two rebounds in a little more than nine minutes per game.
With so little invested in the trade, the Nets will be huge winners here if they can catch lightning in a bottle with Wright.
A day after the New York Knicks debuted Carmelo Anthony to the press, the New Jersey Nets will introduce their new star on Thursday, when they welcome Deron Williams to Newark in a press conference at 3 p.m.
When the trade came down, Williams was in Dallas where the Jazz will take on the Mavericks Wednesday night. The point guard will fly to New Jersey for the press conference before getting right back on a plane with his new teammates for their two-game Texas road trip.
General Manager Billy King and head coach Avery Johnson will be with Williams at the press conference in which he will pose with his No. 8 Nets jersey.
The Nets receive Williams, who is one of the game’s best point guards. Rookie forward Derrick Favors and point guard Devin Harris will go from New Jersey to Utah, along with a pair of first-round draft picks. In what is being reported by Yahoo! as a separate deal, the Nets will send virtually unused forward Troy Murphy to Golden State and will receive Dan Gadzuric from the Warriors.
"We are very excited to add a player the caliber of Deron Williams to our roster," said Nets General Manager Billy King. "He is one of the premier point guards in the NBA, and his skill and talent level will bolster our franchise as we continue to build towards our goal of becoming a championship-caliber team."
Williams is a two-time All-Star who had been unhappy recently with the Jazz. His falling-out with coach Jerry Sloan is believed to be part of the reason the coach resigned, and the Jazz apparently felt Williams would leave the team as a free agent in 2012.
The Nets struck quickly to acquire a star player after failing to convince Carmelo Anthony to sign an extension with them and watching him go to the New Jersey Nets. Williams, 26, is averaging 21.3 points and 9.7 assists this season and will give the Nets a player to build and market around when they move the franchise to Brooklyn in 2012.
It also tweaks the Knicks a bit because there has been widespread discussion that the Knicks wanted to try and add either either Williams or Chris Paul of New Orleans when they become free agents. Williams is not yet eligible to sign an extension, so Mikhail Prokhorov will need to wait before locking up his new point guard long-term.
The New Jersey Nets will not have Carmelo Anthony when they return to action on Friday but beyond that, GM Billy King and head coach Avery Johnson don't know exactly who will and won't be a part of the franchise by the time the trade deadline passes on Thursday.
With the front office trying to regroup from their failed attempt to reel in Anthony, the Nets canceled practice on Tuesday.
The team doesn't want to return to the court until they know where their players stand, specifically point guard Devin Harris, who has been mentioned to be going everywhere from Atlanta to Portland.
Similar to their time in Dallas, Harris and Johnson never quite got on the same page and the team has decided they would be better off moving on. That means one way or another, Harris won't be in New Jersey by the end of the week, but instead will be wearing a new jersey.
While they don't play before the trade deadline, the Nets are still planning on practicing Wednesday, pointing to a deal involving Harris going down within 24 hours.
Carmelo Anthony is a member of the New York Knicks. So is Chauncey Billups. We know that much. What we don't know is what happens next. The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 24, still two days away, and the Anthony trade likely opens the floodgates to more wheeling and dealing.
In particular, what will the New Jersey Nets do? The Nets lost out on Anthony, whom they had hoped would be the centerpiece of their revitalization as they move the franchise to Brooklyn. Long-term, that means the Nets will be looking for another super star. Whether or not there will be one out there who will be willing to come to New Jersey/Brooklyn is an open question. Short-term, though, the Nets still have plenty to do.
New Jersey not only lost out on Anthony Monday, but they lost out on a couple of former Knicks. The Denver Nuggets have apparently decided not to ship any of the players they got for Anthony to the Nets.
New Jersey's first decision will likely be what to do with point guard Devin Harris. There have been reports of discussions between the Nets and Portland Trail Blazers of a trade that would send Harris to Portland for veteran point guard Andre Miller. Harris is averaging 15 points and 7.6 assists, but going back to their days together in Dallas it seems that the working relationship between Harris and Nets coach Avery Johnson has always been an uncomfortable one.
Veteran forward Troy Murphy may also be included in that deal. If he is not, can the Nets find another take for Murphy (Golden State, maybe?) in the next two days?
The Knicks may also not be done moving players around. As part of Monday's mega-deal the Knicks sent Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota and received shooting guard Corey Brewer. There has been some speculation that the Knicks will try to flip Brewer in another deal prior to Thursday's deadline.
No matter what happens, stay tuned right here to SB Nation New York. We will do our best to keep you up to date on what is going on -- and what it might mean.