We’ve already covered the trade that netted the Utah Jazz Deron Williams, and undeniably, it’s one of the most significant trades in the Jazz’s franchise history. However, when the front office acquired the hyper-talented floor general, they probably didn’t expect him to headline their best trade in franchise history with the Brooklyn Nets a mere six seasons later.
This trade may not be the absolute slam-dunk that some of the previous trades we’ve covered in this series have been, but it did end up yielding positive value for the Utah Jazz. They generated 66.5 Win Shares (WS) from the exchange, whereas the (then) New Jersey Nets generated 24.6.
A frequently spouted cliche in NBA circles dictates that whoever gets the best player in a trade “wins” the trade, but it simply doesn’t always hold true. Undeniably, Deron Williams was the best player in this trade. His first two full seasons with the Nets (who relocated to Brooklyn in 2012-13, two years into his stay with the club) were an unmitigated success. In 2011-12, he averaged 21.0 points and 8.7 assists, and followed that up with a diminished, but still superb 18.9 points and 7.7 assists over his first season in the borough.
Sadly for Deron, his production mysteriously fell off a cliff (or perhaps, a Brooklyn skyscraper) after that. He averaged 14.3 points and 6.1 assists over the 2013-14 season, more closely resembling a role player than the superstar fans had grown accustomed to. For the rest of his career, those numbers would only continue to dwindle.
Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz acquired franchise mainstay Derrick Favors in the exchange. He’s spent the vast majority of his 11-year career in Salt Lake City. His best individual season came in 2015-16, with averages of 16.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. As a conventional big, his ability to impact the game has lessened in the wake of the three-point revolution, but he was a serviceable rotation player up until he was traded this very offseason.
Devin Harris may not have been as splashy a name as Williams, but he was a reasonable replacement for him during his stay in Utah. Furthermore, the Jazz used the two first round picks they acquired in the deal on Enes Kanter and Gorgui Dieng. The former was a starting center for the Utah Jazz until he was eventually usurped by Rudy Gobert and his vastly superior interior defense.
This trade may have been far from the best deal the Utah Jazz have made in their franchise history, but given their apparent urgency to move Williams, they did receive a solid return for the soon-to-regress point guard. That makes it the best deal the franchise has made in their history with the Nets.