The Utah Jazz have agreed to send All-Star point guard Deron Williams to New Jersey in a multi-team deal, SI.com has confirmed. The Jazz will receive rookie power forward Derrick Favors, point guard Devin Harris, two first-round draft picks and $3 million cash.
The Nets are also close to finalizing a deal that would send Troy Murphy's expiring contract to Golden State in exchange for big men Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright.
The surprising blockbuster comes after the Nets struck out on attracting LeBron James last summer in free agency, and Carmelo Anthony in a trade with Denver.
Harris and Favors, the No. 3 picks in last summer's draft, were part of the package the Nets were offering Denver for Anthony.
Williams, who's averaging 21.3 points and is third in the league in assists with 9.7 per game, is signed through next season and has a $17.8 million player option for 2012-13. There was a growing belief within the Jazz organization that Williams would opt out of his contract and sign elsewhere, and Utah was likely going to trade him next season to avoid losing him in free agency. He was expectd to be one of the headliners of the 2012 free-agent class, along with Magic center Dwight Howard and Hornets point guard Chris Paul.
The Nets now hope to sign Williams to a contract extension, which they can offer this summer. If so, he would become the face of their franchise when they move into their new arena in Brooklyn in 2012.
The 26-year-old guard and former longtime coach Jerry Sloan reportedly had a heated exchange during halftime of the Jazz's frustrating loss to the Chicago a couple weeks ago. Though Sloan denied the dustup as reason for his resignation the following day, it's been reported that Sloan grew tired of the struggles with Williams and was ready to end it.
The Record of Bergen County, N.J. first reported the deal.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.