I see where Deron Williams just had surgery on his ankles.
This surprises exactly no one. Williams has had wrist, ankle and other injury problems for years. It’s true that when healthy, Williams is an elite player in the NBA.
But three years after the trade that caused him to leave the Jazz, I still believe it was the right move. First, the injuries are adding up. Williams will go down as a fine player, but his best days could be behind him.
It’s true the Jazz end of the trade hasn’t been spectacular. Derrick Favors has been good, but certainly not a leader, or a franchise player. Devin Harris is gone, replaced by the ever-perplexing Marvin Williams. Enes Kanter, whom the Jazz took via a draft pick acquired in the trade, continues to be an intriguing offensive threat and a defensive liability.
At the same time, there’s really only one factor to consider: Deron Williams wasn’t coming back after his contract expired, so the Jazz got what they could before he left as a free agent. The star guard never sent a vibe that he wanted to return to Salt Lake. Jazz management even today says it never got an indication he wanted to stay in Utah.
Thus, the Jazz got something when they would have had nothing. Williams was a great competitor, but he was also moody and difficult. He wouldn’t have been happy playing for a team that barely made the playoffs each year. And it’s doubtful he would have wanted to stay in a smaller market the rest of his career.
Three years after the trade, I still think the Jazz got something good, when they would otherwise have received nothing. Whining about letting Williams “get away” is pointless. Asked in May 2010 what it would take to make him a fixture in Utah, Williams said, “I don’t know.”
Nothing could have kept him in Salt Lake.
He didn’t want to be a fixture. He wanted to be a free agent.