SALT LAKE CITY — Although news about both deals broke several days ago, the Utah Jazz made it official on Wednesday.
The franchise formally announced that they have: a) Acquired small forward Marvin Williams from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for point guard Devin Harris — pending the outcome, of course, of both players passing those proverbial ol' physical examinations.
And b) Re-signed forward Jeremy Evans to (although the team's not talking) what is believed to be a three-year, $5.5 million contract.
Word about Williams' acquisition leaked out last week after the Jazz landed another Williams, point guard Mo, from the Los Angeles Clippers in a four-team deal which required Utah to use up most of the $10.8 million trade exception it received by trading Mehmet Okur to the New Jersey Nets last December.
With Mo Williams coming to town to run the Jazz offense, Harris — who came to Utah in yet another deal Utah made in February 2011 that sent yet another Williams, Deron, to the Nets — became expendable. And the Jazz found a taker for Harris in the Hawks.
In Marvin Williams, they're getting a 26-year-old, 6-foot-9, 245-pound performer who's entering his eighth NBA season after being selected out of North Carolina with the No. 2 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft — one spot ahead of Utah's selection of Deron Williams in that same draft.
Marvin Williams, who arrived in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night and will meet with members of the Utah media Thursday, has been considered somewhat of an under-achiever for a player who was taken with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft. Some insiders say the trade to Utah might be just what Williams needs to resurrect or kick-start what has been a relatively ho-hum career.
"I'm happy to be here, I haven't spent a ton of time here," Williams said at the Salt Lake International Airport. "I'm definitely excited to get out in the city and meet new people. Obviously this is my first time being traded in my career and I don't really know what to expect. I'll get a chance to meet a lot of people tomorrow and I'm really excited about that. Hopefully a little bit later on in the summer I'll be able to get out here, get adjusted, and find a new place to live — kind of get my feet set."
As for the first order of business?
"I got to eat something at some point," Williams quipped. "I haven't eaten in the last few hours. Hopefully I can eat something and then tomorrow we'll get started."
But while his offensive numbers have been steady but far from spectacular, he is considered an excellent defender who will pair well with Gordon Hayward at the small forward spot.
"The one thing about Gordon is he does have the ability to play both (shooting guard and small forward) positions. That definitely helps us. I'm sure (the) coaches have a plan for the team and a plan for me. Once I sit down and talk to the coaches a little bit more I'm sure they'll be able to fill me in and tell me what they see."
In Atlanta, Marvin Williams averaged 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 487 career outings, including 379 starts, and averaged double-figure scoring over each of the last six seasons. He helped the Hawks reach the NBA playoffs for the last five seasons following an eight-year postseason drought and has played in 42 playoff games, starting in 27 of them.
During the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, Marvin Williams played in 57 games (37 starts) and averaged 10.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting a career-best .389 (58-of-149) from 3-point range.
When asked about his perspective on the Jazz, he noted the never-say-die mentality Utah displayed during the four-overtime thriller last March. In the third-longest game in NBA history, which saw Atlanta prevail 139-133, Williams tallied 16 points and nine boards.
"The one thing that kind of stands out to me about (Utah) is that quadruple-overtime game we had in Atlanta last year. It just seemed like Utah would never go away. They played so hard the whole time. Any time you can surround yourself with players like that you give yourself a chance to win."
At North Carolina, where he played just one season, Marvin Williams was a member of the Tar Heels' 2005 NCAA championship team. His tip-in with 1:26 remaining in the 2005 title game broke a 70-70 tie with Illinois — a team led by star guard Deron Williams — and helped Carolina claim an eventual 75-70 victory.
He earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors and was a unanimous selection to the ACC All-Freshman Team in his lone collegiate season. In 2006, he was named to the NBA's All-Rookie second team with Atlanta and is a two-time recipient (2008 and '11) of the Hawks' Jason Collier Memorial Trophy for his work as a community ambassador.
Harris played in 80 games (79 starts) over one-plus seasons with the Jazz, averaging 12.3 points and 5.1 assists per game. He averaged 11.3 points and 5.0 assists in 63 games for Utah last season.
Evans, the NBA's 2012 Slam Dunk Champion, has appeared in 78 games over his first two NBA seasons with the Jazz, averaging 3.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per game while shooting .656 from the field — thanks primarily to all those dunk shots that have made him a seldom-used fan favorite. Thus far in his NBA career, 74 of Evans' 103 NBA baskets have been dunks, including 32 alley-oops. His dunk percentage of 71.8 percent is the highest in the NBA over the last two seasons, and in February of this year during NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Fla., the 24-year-old Evans became the first player in Jazz franchise history to win the league's slam dunk contest.
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