NEW YORK (Reuters) - The struggling New Jersey Nets acquired All-Star point guard Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz in a three-player trade after missing out on Carmelo Anthony, the two teams said on Wednesday.
The Nets, who were openly interested in acquiring Anthony until his trade to the New York Knicks, agreed to send guard Devin Harris, forward Derrick Favors, two first-round draft picks and cash to Utah for Williams.
“We are very excited to add a player the caliber of Deron Williams to our roster,” Nets general manager Billy King said in a statement.
“He is one of the premier point guards in the NBA, and his skill and talent level will bolster our franchise as we continue to build toward our goal of becoming a championship-caliber team.”
The 26-year-old Williams, selected third overall by Utah in the 2005 NBA Draft, is averaging a career-high 21.3 points per game this season along with 9.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds.
Favors, the third overall pick in last year’s NBA draft, is averaging 6.3 points and 5.3 rebounds this season.
Harris, who spent three-plus seasons in Dallas before being traded to New Jersey in 2008, is averaging 15.0 points and a career-high 7.6 assists in this campaign.
Despite parting ways with Williams, the Jazz are confident former All-Star guard Harris will help the team who are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“We feel that we’ve addressed a current need at point guard with Deron’s departure, as well as the future with draft picks and a big man,” Jazz general manager Kevin O‘Connor said.
“To do so we had to give up an All-Star, but we feel like this is a win for both sides.”
The Nets have made pitches to several leading NBA players since Russian majority owner Mikhail Prokhorov purchased the team last year.
New Jersey, who set a record for the worst start to an NBA campaign last season and have stumbled to a 17-40 record this time round, talked with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh last year when they were free agents before shifting their focus to Anthony.
Anthony, a four-times All-Star who led the Denver Nuggets to seven consecutive playoff appearances, was the centerpiece of a nine-player blockbuster trade with the Knicks that was confirmed on Tuesday.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ed Osmond