Deron Williams simply wasn’t worth the risk, and it didn’t have anything to do with the fact that he didn’t seem to get along with former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. It had much more to do with his current contract. Williams had one year left on his three-year deal, one that was originally signed to give him options to get out of Salt Lake City if that’s what he wanted to do. Instead, Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor sent him packing Wednesday in a deal to New Jersey for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, some first-round picks and cash.
All of that was too much for O’Connor and the Jazz to pass up given that they couldn’t ensure with 100 percent confidence that Williams would stick around after next season.
Kevin O’Connor joined KFNZ in Salt Lake City with Scott Garrard to discuss if the spat with Jerry Sloan punched Williams’ ticket out of town, if there were discussions about dealing him prior to that, what the Carmelo Anthony deal meant for this one, the risk/reward of getting Williams out before trying to re-sign him to stay in Utah, the pieces the Jazz got in return for Williams and the identity of the ever-changing team at this point.
If trading Deron Williams had anything to do with a spat with Jerry Sloan:
“No. It had zero impact on today.”
If there were discussions of trading Williams before that:
“You always look, yeah, absolutely. But let’s take it back a step further. You have discussions about every player and I think that’s what people don’t understand. We have conversations all the time.”
How much was he sitting back and waiting for the Carmelo Anthony drama to end:
“It’s like a housing market, it sets a price. And I think it set a price for what it was. I’d like to think that we, from our point of view, when you give away an All-Star you better get something in return. I think what we felt was return, if Denver probably wanted to accept that offer more than the Knicks’ offer, but they wouldn’t re-sign there, so they had to take the Knicks offer. That tells you a couple things, first, that it’s a pretty good offer. And the second thing is you’re in the ballpark for continuing to have conversations.”
On needing to get something for Williams before he potentially left during free agency:
“The focus we really basically had was, ‘What was the percentage that Deron would stay or not stay and how close to 100 percent on the return was this deal?’ We felt it was really close and, therefore, it wasn’t worth the risk.”
His thoughts on Derrick Favors:
“He’s a big, raw, young player. But what we look at is physicality, athleticism and size. Those three things he’s got and those three things are difficult to come by. We got a young one and let’s see how he develops. … Those steps that he’s got to take and they’re going to be baby steps because he’s not ready yet. But what we did get was Devin Harris who’s a good point guard, an upper-tier point guard, who certainly helped Dallas win a lot of games and then got caught up in a rebuilding process.”
What is the identity of the Jazz right now?:
“I think the identity is change right now. What it really is is I don’t think you can have an identity, as far as individuals go, if you’ve changed them. What it is is hopefully the stability and the foundation that was laid that we’ll continue that. You’ll be able to come out to a game and watch us compete hard, watch us have good players on the floor and hopefully watch us be smart enough to get players to help us win.”