Posted // 2011-02-23 - I hope you Jazz fans didn’t drink all of your beer/wine/whiskey during the Jerry Sloan fracas two weeks ago, because today you’ll need to pour yourself another glass—whether it’s to celebrate or to mourn.
Today the Utah Jazz have a trade in the works to send Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets. In return they’ll get Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, two first-round draft picks and $3 million in cash.
No one knows – or is telling -- how this trade came about. But if you, like me, believe that Jerry Sloan’s departure was a result of Deron Williams’ passive-aggressive (or just plain aggressive) actions, the deal seems a little … unexpected, especially if it was initiated by Kevin O’Connor and not Williams himself (who just this week shot down a Knicks trade rumor “like a game-winning 3-pointer”).
If you’re in the “Sloan or Bust” camp, this might be good news. D-Will was a punk who would have left us in 2012 anyway. Good riddance to him. Have fun in New Jersey, sucka. Is it too late to get Jerry back?
To others, though, this is one more nail in the Jazz coffin, another clue that the Jazz management is off its rocker. Did Kevin O’Connor side with Deron Williams over Jerry Sloan, then just two weeks later ship off Williams to save a few bucks? Why are we sending away one of the best point guards in the nation in exchange for an OK guard, ANOTHER forward, some dubious (given O’Connor history) draft prospects and a bag of cash? None of this would have happened under Larry Miller!
One thing everyone can agree on is that none of what’s happened in the past month has been good for the short-term strength of the team. It’s likely the team will miss the playoffs this year, but we still might have if Williams had stuck around. Maybe Harris and Favors will be players who the fans and team can rally around. Maybe this is a move that’ll be good for the franchise in the long term. But really, when have Jazz fans cared about the long term?
And, perhaps more importantly, is there a long term for the Jazz franchise? Larry Miller sacrificed a lot in the early years to make the Jazz a viable franchise for Salt Lake City. The current ownership and management might not have that same goal. Gail Miller and Greg Miller lived through the lean years when the Jazz were struggling. They might not want to live through more.
NBA trades are complicated, and I’m the first to admit that I don’t fully understand them. Neither do 99 percent of the people speculating on Twitter and Facebook right now. But I know this is a big deal for Jazz fans, and we’re nothing if not a noisy, opinionated group. So, what are your thoughts on this debacle?
I know for sure that Monday’s game against the Celtics will be a strange world. No Sloan, no Williams. And while Sloan stayed out of the limelight, Williams was, literally, the face of the Jazz. Every program, schedule and promotional spot on the JumboTron featured Williams’ smug face. Right now, I'm thinking I won’t miss it that much. But I might very soon.