NBA / Feb 23, 2011 / 1:00 pm

Prokhorov Gets The Last Laugh

Since taking over as owner of the Nets back in May, Mikhail Prokhorov has desperately tried to make the team relevant. He flew in his private jet to recruit LeBron James this summer, had dinner with Carmelo Anthony at All-Star Weekend and put up his “Blueprint for Greatness” billboard across the street from Madison Square Garden. Up until today, all those attempts had failed to come across as anything more than excessive bravado that wasn’t paying off. No stars came (or wanted to come) to New Jersey, but now Prokhorov has finally followed through, and at least made the Nets worth talking about again with the acquisition of Deron Williams.

On the day when Carmelo is being introduced to the New York media, Prokhorov just delivered an uppercut to James Dolan. Dolan caved in to every one of Denver’s demands: Danilo Gallinari, draft picks, and even Timofey Mozgov at the end, all to keep ‘Melo out of New Jersey. Well, the Nets didn’t get ‘Melo, but what they got is something better: an all-pro point guard who can do for this franchise what Jason Kidd did for it in the early 2000s.

As a Nets fan, I absolutely love this trade. First off, as a point guard, Williams makes his teammates better. He is unselfish, and has great basketball instincts, but also has the ability to take over as a scorer when needed. While ‘Melo can drop 30 on any night, he wasn’t going to make Brook Lopez any better by taking 20 shots. Anthony is a me-first player, indisputably talented, but not the kind of leader that Williams is.

Secondly, after the Anthony trade fell through, the Nets were left looking for scrap heaps on the trade market. There were reports they would trade Devin Harris for either Caron Butler‘s expiring contract or Andre Miller and Joel Pryzbilla. Neither of those offers would have been enticing to any Nets fan, nor would they have made the team any better – short or long term. In this deal, they traded Harris and other pieces for an All-Star, a proven winner, a playmaker, and something the Nets can actually build around.

They also had to make this trade because there is no way the team could have dangled Harris and Derrick Favors out for as long as they did, then turned around and told them, “We still want you guys to be key pieces for us moving forward.” Those relationships were beyond repair, so they had to be traded. And to get back Williams in return is remarkable.

Lastly, in this trade the Nets didn’t end up with any bad contracts on their hands. In earlier versions of the ‘Melo deal, the Nets would have had to take on Richard Hamilton and/or Chauncey Billups‘ contracts, but either way getting those guys wasn’t desirable. Billups and Hamilton are both past their prime, and have contracts that would impede the team’s ability to sign free agents. Now, the Nets are still in great position salary wise, while having a franchise centerpiece to build around for the next 10 years.

So while Dolan imagined this day as his moment in the sun, it turns out Prokhorov one upped him. Instead of everyone having their focus on MSG today, the Knicks’ cross river rivals have stolen the show for the first time under their new owner. Hopefully, there will be more days like this to come for Nets fans, but for right now, I’m willing to enjoy seeing Deron’s name on the roster.

What do you think?

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  • Hollllaaaa

    I love this guy. Exec. Of the Year

  • CasualFan

    Stuff like this is why I buy league pass every year. D-Will on the nets. The Nets don’t get alot of national games so league pass will come in hand to catch D-Will do his thing.

  • Marc Almajose

    DWill is unhapy with the trade. Another challenge for Prokhorov’s managerial skills and uncanny foresight.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9RJbLV98fI Showtime

    Great move by New Jersey although I don’t really understand what Utah is doing. Why didn’t they float this offer out in public? I’m sure they could have gotten something better for Deron Williams.

    How is Favors getting minutes? Al Jefferson, Okur, Millsap, Kirilenko. New York and Miami should be calling Utah right now cuz there’s clearly a logjam

  • sh!tfaced

    As long as he won’t get introduced to Isiah…

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    If D-Will signs an extension at some point and doesn’t bounce the Nets in summer of 2012 then this is a good move. If he leaves then it’s a terrible move.

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    If D-Will leaves for the Knicks in 2012 then Dolan could get the last laugh.

  • NTstateOFmind

    talk about rolling the dice

    if he cant convince Deron to sign an extension, Prokhorov is probably banking on an inclusion on a franchise tag in the next CBA

    all these small market teams are really getting F’d lately

  • NYK


    i think jazz unloaded D-Will to a scrap team like NJ because he’s the reason Jerry Sloan resigned.

    he’s probably going to be more unhappy now than he was in Utah. unless Brook Lopez becomes a rebounding monster and Kris Humphries becomes the old Kenyon Martin and Travis Outlaw the old Richard Jefferson, he’s going to bolt in 2012.

  • http://freshouttatime.blogspot.com freshouttatime

    i stopped reading and burst laughing after this-
    “Well, the Nets didn’t get ‘Melo, but what they got is something better: an all-pro point guard…”

  • NC

    It’ll be fun to see how NJ entices a contract extension … and fun to see how frustrated DWill gets with the new … fucking terrible … team he has to run with.

  • The Other Aj


    This trade is only a success if DWill resigns with NJ next year…if not they will have lost Favors, & 2 draft picks for 1 year of Deron

  • http://www.DarkWingPro.com Diallo N Williams

    please tell me the nets got some sort of gentleman’s handshake or something from williams, otherwise come 2012 they might have basically rented him for 2 years and then have nothing to show for it (if he bolts)

  • WinDelRoj

    They cant even negotiate a new contract until a new CBA is in place. Id say thats the biggest concern. But if you were building a team you would want a skilled big man and an all star point guard they at least have that (although said big man needs to rebound). If he doesnt sign then yeah it sucks but they will have enough cap room to sign someone else and this time they wont have to try to convince someone to play in a swamp. High risk high reward I guess

  • Blk Caesar

    Only if williams signs an extension.. If not, then the Nets have him for one year then gone baby gone.

  • hahns

    prok is the man. as a knicks fan it pisses me off how bad we got hosed.

  • http://www.chess.com smoove chips

    well played prkv..thats how you make the best of a bad situation.
    your mission now is to summon your inner mitch kupchak. Make the rest of the team a team that any great point guard could want and work with.

    cp3 and dwill won’t end up on the same team..reup with one or the other.if you loose them both your gradual roster upgrades should serve you well.

    how you say..win-win in russian ?

  • hakasan

    a real businessman shows big boy moves in the NBA!!
    prokhorov showing owners like sterling and dolan how deals are done!

    i like this deal for nj, if anything because prokorov has more than enough money to throw at dwill to keep him past 2012. with dwill and lopez in nj, i can legitimately see other stars wanting to playin nj again… especially with the pending move to brooklyn…

    good deal for the jazz too, actually… dwill is clearly a top tier pg in the league right now and the only way to ‘replace’ him is if they landed cp3 or d.rose… westbrook or rondo would be a downgrade at this point, i think… devin harris is a servicible pg, and they might be able to find takers for favors… shoppoing the deal will likely turn off the nets (see how they rejected denver for doing the same) so, in the scenario that dwill must go, i think the jazz got all they could ask for…

    what’s real interesting is if murphy got bought out and went back to the nets… then they pretty much have the jazz team recreated… with lopez playiing al jefferson’s role, hump playing milsap’s role, and murphy playing okur’s role… morrow shooting like korver… very interesting indeed…

  • 100K


    Good move for Mikhail..but there’s no guarantee Deron is gonna re-up and the thought of playing in New Jersey till the new arena is built with the likes of Anthony Morrow, Travis Outlaw and Brooke Lopez is enough to make anyone cringe.

  • Chaos

    Deron can make the team better but him as a bigger asset is bbringing in another star or borderline star like a smmall forward or shooting guard (OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay, Galinari anyone) or a bruising pf in the boozer or bass, mold. It can be done. If they can get someone to spread the floor or a slasher they will be ok.

  • loozer

    i still can’t believe billy king did this… seems that we do get wiser as we age

  • http://brokejumper.com/ Adam Dickau

    Gordon Hayward is happy he won’t be bullied anymore but now Deron has a new bitch to pick on in vujacic.

  • ron

    lol have fun dwill

    whiny homo