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Jazz avoid circus, trade D-Will before he takes his show on the road

Published February 24, 2011 11:42 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For all the talk about the Utah Jazz becoming just like any other mid-sized NBA franchise after coach Jerry Sloan's departure, Jazz executives made it clear Wednesday trading Deron Williams to New Jersey constituted an effort to avoid the pitfalls of other teams.

With Williams' contract expiring at the end of next season, the Jazz faced the very real possibility of the two-time All Star signing elsewhere, as Toronto's Chris Bosh, Cleveland's LeBron James and Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire all did last summer.

"All those teams lost their marquee players and had very little to show for it," Jazz CEO Greg Miller said at an afternoon news conference.

So the Jazz avoided the circus to which they alluded — Miller acknowledged a gut feeling told him Williams wouldn't re-sign with the Jazz — acquiring former All-Star point guard Devin Harris, 19-year-old forward Derrick Favors, who was the No. 3 pick in last year's draft, and two first-round draft picks.

The trade came the day after New York acquired Carmelo Anthony, whom New Jersey had been in the running to acquire.

"I think it's a win-win situation," Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said. "New Jersey wanted a marquee player and a star."

O'Connor said the Jazz in another year could have found themselves in the same situation as the Nuggets, desperately searching for a buyer.

"Were we willing to take that risk?" O'Connor said at an afternoon news conference. "Were we willing to go through what Denver went through this year? And we would have been if we didn't feel that a deal that would have helped the health of the franchise be in place."

With the NBA's trade deadline 1 p.m. Thursday, the Jazz could make additional trades. O'Connor wouldn't rule out more moves.

"I would suspect that we're going to be very active," he said, "whether anything comes to fruition, I don't know."

For Wednesday, though, it was clear O'Connor was happy with the return for Williams, a day removed from being Utah's franchise player.

O'Connor said Favors gives the Jazz a young, third big man, which the Jazz have lacked, while Harris is a suitable replacement for Williams.

"Devin Harris is a good basketball player and when he was with Dallas he gave us fits," O'Connor said.

When Miller was asked about the team moving forward without a star player, he said, "We may have a star player before any of us realize it."

boram@sltrib.com

Twitter: @oramb