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Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Top 10 trades in Nets' history

By Mike Mazzeo

When Deron Williams, who made his home debut on Monday night, was dealt to New Jersey, it got us thinking: What are the top 10 trades in Nets’ history?

Note: We included Williams, and would like to send our sincerest apologies out to Keith Van Horn, who just missed the cut. Oh, and we included ABA trades as well.

10. On Oct. 8, 1992 Jayson Williams was traded by the Philadelphia 76ers to the Nets in exchange for a conditional draft pick. During his seven seasons with New Jersey, Williams became a double-double machine. In 1997-98, he even made his first and only All-Star team. Ultimately, Williams’ career was derailed by injuries and he retired after the ’98-99 campaign.

9. On Jan. 23, 1991 Drazen Petrovic was traded by the Portland Trailblazers to the Nets along with Terry Mills in a three-way deal. In the deal, the Nets sent Greg Anderson to the Denver Nuggets along with a 1992 first-round draft pick. Petrovic would’ve gone down in Nets’ lore as one of the greatest players in franchise history. But just three years into his career with New Jersey, Petrovic was killed in a car crash on the autobahn in June of 1993. A prolific 3-point shooter who had an uncanny ability to score the basketball -- he averaged over 20 points per game in each of his two full seasons with the team -- the Croatian native had his No. 3 jersey retired by the Nets at the beginning of the ’93-94 season.

8. On Jan. 24, 1973, Wendell Ladner was traded by the Kentucky Colonels to the Nets along with Mike Gale in exchange for John Roche. Someone needed to protect Julius Erving -- and that someone was Ladner. A hard-nosed big man, Ladner was a key cog on New York’s 1974 ABA championship team. He only played two seasons with the Nets before tragically passing away in a plane crash on June 24, 1975 at the age of 26. The franchise retired his No. 4 shortly thereafter.

7. On Aug. 27, 1982, Darryl Dawkins was traded by the Philadelphia 76ers to the Nets in exchange for the Sixers’ 1983 first-round draft pick (Leo Rautins) and cash. “Chocolate Thunder” didn’t exactly put up superstar type numbers in New Jersey. However, he did help the Nets reach the playoffs in four consecutive seasons from 1982-83 to ’85-86. In 1983-84, New Jersey advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, before losing in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks.

6. On June 27, 2001, Richard Jefferson was traded by the Houston Rockets to the Nets along with Jason Collins and Brandon Armstrong in exchange for Eddie Griffin. Both Jefferson and Collins became vital contributors on the Nets’ NBA Finals teams in 2002 and ’03. Jefferson provided scoring from his small forward position, while Collins gave the team interior defense and intangibles from the center spot.

5. On Dec. 17, 2004, Vince Carter was traded by the Toronto Raptors to the Nets in exchange for Alonzo Mourning, Aaron Williams, Eric Williams and two first-round draft picks. While he may not have had as much of an impact as some of the others on this list, Carter averaged over 20 points per game during his 4 1/2-year stint in New Jersey. A human highlight reel, Carter dunked his way to three playoff appearances with the Nets.

4. On Sept. 2, 1970, Rick Barry was traded by the Virginia Squires to the Nets in exchange for a draft pick and cash. Someone had to bring the Nets to respectability before Julius Erving arrived. And that someone was Barry. The first superstar in franchise history, Barry led the Nets to the ABA playoffs in each of his two seasons with New York, averaging 29.4 and then 31.5 points per game.

3. On Feb. 23, 2011, Deron Williams was traded by the Utah Jazz to the Nets in exchange for Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, two first-round draft picks and cash. A two-time All-Star, Williams was averaging 21.3 points and 9.7 assists per game this season when he was dealt to New Jersey. The Nets are hoping that Williams can turn the franchise around much the way Jason Kidd did when he was acquired back in the summer of 2001. In two games with New Jersey, Williams has averaged 14.5 points and 14.5 assists.

2. On July 18, 2001, Jason Kidd was traded by the Phoenix Suns to the Nets along with Chris Dudley in exchange for Stephon Marbury, Johnny Newman and Soumaila Samake. Kidd single-handedly turned around the franchise, leading the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2001 and ’02. In his 6 1/2 seasons in New Jersey, Kidd went to the All-Star game five times. He was also runner-up for the MVP award in 2001-02.

1. On Aug. 1, 1973, Julius Erving was traded by the Virginia Squires to the Nets along with Willie Sojourner in exchange for George Carter, the rights to Kermit Washington and cash. Considered the greatest player in franchise history, “Dr. J” led the Nets to their first ABA title in 1974, averaging 27.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He captured regular season and postseason MVP honors as well. Then, in 1976, Erving legitimized the dunk contest with his free-throw line slam. He followed that up by leading the Nets to another ABA championship. Erving ultimately played three seasons in New York. His No. 32 was eventually retired by the organization and currently waves in the rafters.

Agree? Disagree? Chime in with your thoughts.