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Deron Williams Traded To Nets, Atlantic Division Gets Even Tougher

Deron Williams has been traded to the New Jersey Nets in a deal that shocked many, including Williams himself, late Wednesday morning. Utah will receive point guard Devin Harris, this year's No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors and two first-round picks.

In a subsequent move, New Jersey has traded veteran big man Troy Murphy to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Dan Gadzuric and Brandan Wright.

The news come just two days after the New York Knicks acquired superstar Carmelo Anthony and veteran point guard Chauncey Billups from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, the Knicks 2014 first-round pick, two second round picks from the Golden State Warriors in 2012 and 2013 and $3 million.

So what do all these trades mean for the Celtics? For starters, the Atlantic Division just got a whole lot tougher.

Boston (41-14) currently sits 12.5 games ahead of New York (28-26) in the Atlantic Division. As for New Jersey (17-40), it trails Boston in the division by a whopping 25 games. In short, these moves may not have an Earth-shattering impact on Boston this season.

The Celtics will face the Knicks and Nets a combined three times in the remaining portion of the regular season, visiting New Jersey on Monday, March 14, and playing at New York March 21 and hosting the Knicks in the regular-season finale on April 13.

However, should the Celtics and Knicks meet in the playoffs this season, Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony could certainly give Boston fits. The general consensus indicates that Boston is still a much better team than New York, but anything goes in the postseason.

The additions of Williams and Anthony to the Atlantic Division signals the beginning of a shift of power within the division. With Boston's aging roster, it may only be a matter of time until New York and New Jersey find themselves at the top of the division.

These two big-time moves certainly put more pressure on Celtics' general manager Danny Ainge, who is speculated to make a move before Thursday's trading deadline. Ainge doesn't have the cap space to make any large moves, but he should be able to make a trade that will benefit Boston in the playoffs this season.