Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Connor is going all in.
Three days after pulling off a trade for point guard Mo Williams, Utah has a deal in place to send Devin Harris to Atlanta in exchange for small forward Marvin Williams, sources told The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday.
The trade is expected to be finalized July 11, once the NBA free agency period ends.
O’Connor declined comment Monday. But sources said the deal has been greenlighted by both organizations, and Jazz CEO Greg Miller acknowledged the trade late Monday evening in an interview at Salt Lake City International Airport.
Once finalized, nine-year veteran Mo Williams is expected to take over the reins of an offense centered around Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson.
Marvin Williams, 26, will compete for a spot in the starting lineup while attempting to revive a career that never met expectations during seven season in Atlanta. The No. 2 overall pick of the 2005 NBA Draft out of North Carolina — selected ahead of Deron Williams and Chris Paul, among others — has averaged 11.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 487 games (379 starts). The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Williams has a soft touch and solid midrange shot, holding career averages of 45 percent from the field and 80.6 percent from the free-throw line. He’s been prone to moments when he lacks aggressiveness, though, and is inconsistent behind the 3-point line.
The planned trade brings a sudden and an uneventful end to Harris’ brief tenure in Salt Lake City. Acquired in February 2011 as part of the blockbuster Deron Williams deal, the 29-year-old point guard helped guide the Jazz to the first round of the NBA playoffs last season.
After struggling mightily through the initial two months of a lockout-compressed campaign, the eight-year veteran finally found his game in March. Harris then looked like his former All-Star self during the final month of the season, averaging 16.5 points and 5.3 assists while shooting 42 percent behind the 3-point line. During back-to-back games against Dallas and Portland in mid-April, he combined for 50 points and 11 made 3s, highlighting the skills that once made him one of the most promising point guards in the game.
But Harris never completely fit in with the Jazz. He acknowledged two months into the 2011-12 season he was still struggling to adapt to Utah’s offensive system. And while Harris’ on- and off-the-court relationship with coach Tyrone Corbin improved over time, the duo never fully bonded and at times clashed.
When Utah unexpectedly acquired Mo Williams last Friday — a trade that was initiated during the buildup toward the 2012 NBA Draft — and picked up veteran backup Jamal Tinsley’s 2012-13 option the same day, a picture long in the making instantly became clear: Harris was again on the block, and would soon be traded.
“It was a waiting game,” a league source with direct knowledge of the planned deal said Monday. “No team in the NBA has four point guards, and everyone knew [Harris] was gone the second they signed Mo.”
Now, Utah’s expected to run a three point-guard rotation featuring Mo Williams, Earl Watson and Tinsley. And Harris’ sudden departure leaves Deron Williams as the only Jazz point guard who’s run the team for an extended duration since Hall of Famer John Stockton retired.
More change could soon arrive for Utah. The Tribune reported last weekend the Jazz are eyeing a wing scorer during free agency, and Utah still has its full $5 million mid-level exception to spend. After news of the planned Harris trade surfaced Monday, The Tribune learned Utah will remain very active on the trade market and in the attempt to sign players. With everything from sign-and-trade possibilities to multiple expiring contracts in hand, the Jazz are aggressively attempting to improve without overspending during free agency.
Thus far, O’Connor has exceeded expectations. Two days into free agency, Utah’s been one of the busiest teams in the league. And the 2012-13 Jazz are still nearly five months away from tipping off.
Check The Tribune’s Jazz Notes blog at sltrib.com/Blogs/jazznotes for exclusive news, interviews, video and analysis.
Utah pulled off its second big trade in three days, sources told The Salt Lake Tribune on Monday, with the Jazz planning to ship point guard Devin Harris to Atlanta in exchange for Hawks forward Marvin Williams. The trade cannot officially be announced until July 11.
Marvin Williams file
Position: Small forward
Vitals: 6-foot-9, 245 pounds
Stats: 10.4 pts, 5.1 reb, 1.2 ast, 43.2 pct FG, 38.9 pct 3pt
Career: 11.5 pts, 5.3 reb, 1.3 ast, 45 pct FG, 32.9 pct 3pt
Contract: $8.2 million 2012-13, $7.5 million 2013-14 (player option)
Draft: No. 2 overall by Atlanta in 2005
College: North Carolina
Devin Harris in SLC
Highlight: 28 points and five made 3-pointers April 6, leading the Jazz to a 104-98 home win against Golden State.
Summary: Harris teamed with Al Jefferson to carry Utah to the 2012 NBA playoffs. The veteran point guard was never fully comfortable with the Jazz, though, and he was often on the trade block during his 16-month run in Salt Lake City.