It’s a slippery slope when a sports blog I happen to write for becomes a pseudo-therapeutic outlet for me, so I’ll try to keep this a one shot deal. But after my post yesterday reacting to the Carmelo Anthony-to-the-Knicks debacle and then today’s stunning news that the Nets had acquired Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz, I feel that I need to own up to the fact that I was an over-the-top, reactionary, negative-nellie on Tuesday.
It wasn’t that I was wrong to post what I did, but I was wrong to post when I did – a couple of days before the trading deadline would officially end, and with the Nets still sitting on a boatload of assets, including Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Troy Murphy’s expiring contract and numerous draft picks, many with lottery potential. In fact, after my initial post went up yesterday, my colleague Devin calmly wrote me that he respected what I wrote, disagreed with most of it, and isn’t going to issue any opinions until there’s a clearer resolution with the trade deadline.
That didn’t stop me from digging myself deeper earlier this morning, when I gave a snarky retort about the front office in my daily link. What can I say? I was under the belief that Golden State’s expiring contracts and Caron Butler were the best the Nets were going to be able get before Thursday. I actually found myself agonizing by the idea that the Nets couldn’t pry Greg Oden and his microfractured knees from Portland as a way to save face for sticking their necks on the line in the ‘Melo sweepstakes only to watch him go to the Knicks – where he wanted to be all along. I’ve been a Nets fan a long time, and have followed some very bad teams. I’ve dealt with a lot of disappointment and justified a number of bad front office moves for the sake of my fandom, and felt I was just hitting my breaking point with the current front office. It was almost more offensive to me that Mikhail Prokhorov and Billy King were putting themselves out there and talking so big only to continually fail rather than just talking and acting like failures like past administrations.
And then Prokhorov and King turn around and hit the monster of all home runs for this organization, for this franchise. Let me be perfectly clear and as hyperbolic as humanly possible – the acquisition of Deron Williams is the most important trade this organization has made since they received Jason Kidd from Phoenix. Williams is the floor general championship teams desperately need – a PG who can pass, shoot, score and most importantly, make all of his teammates better. With one swift move, the Nets have obtained someone who can run the pick-and-roll with Brook Lopez better than any other PG out there, a guy who’s going to be able to effortlessly dump the ball off to Kris Humphries for an easy dunk at the basket, a guy who’s going to make Anthony Morrow – the best three-point shooter in the NBA – perpetually open from long distance as he drives to the basket and kicks the ball back out. He’s also a legitimate NBA star and if this league continues to go in the star-centric direction, he brings the Nets instant credibility – much in the way ‘Melo would have, except Williams may actually help these guys win something more than regular season games.
There are of course, negatives to be considered. The Nets paid a hefty price for Williams – Devin Harris was a solid PG and was put through a lot the past two seasons, unfairly. Derrick Favors still shows promise, even if he didn’t impress in the Rookie-Sophomore game last weekend. Those two draft picks will most likely be lottery picks, unless the Nets go on a monster run this season and the Warriors have a surprise season next year. But for all of the reasons I didn’t want to see the Nets give up so much for Anthony are the reasons I support this Williams trade. You don’t go all in unless it’s for a player you know makes this team better. Williams is that player.
Then there’s the murky contract situation to consider. The Nets can’t extend Williams until after the current CBA expires, though he does have a player option that is likely to pay him more in 2012-13 than he would make under the new CBA. So it sounds like either way the Nets have their star for Brooklyn. Meanwhile, with Williams rightly or wrongly being blamed for the ouster of Jerry Sloan in Utah, one of the league’s truly great coaches, who knows how the PG will react to Avery Johnson – not known as one of the league’s more flexible taskmasters.
These are questions that won’t be answered until well after the shock and awe of this trade wears off. But if I haven’t been clear enough, let me say it so: I was an absolute idiot yesterday and I will really try and be more disciplined in the future when doubting Mikhail Prokhorov and Co.