The Nets have been Trade Rumor Central for well over a year now, but most of the speculation has focused on acquiring Dwight Howard. Now, New Jersey is apparently targeting a very different partner for free-agent guard Deron Williams.
UPDATE: Monday, July 2 at 5:07 p.m. ET by Richard Langford
Hearing the Nets-Joe Johnson deal is "pretty much done.''— Colin Stephenson (@Ledger_Nets) July 2, 2012
Well, I guess it might not be that close. The devil is in the details, and there are certainly a few details inside that "pretty much."
As for the "pretty much," the New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy seems to know what it is.
Deal is contingent on Deron Williams re-signing. Nets giving up expiring contracts in deal.— Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) July 2, 2012
What happens if Deron Williams' re-signing with the the Nets is contingent upon them trading for Johnson? Will either go first? Perhaps they could both agree to their respective deals at the exact same time.
UPDATE: Sunday, July 1 at 4:48 p.m. ET by Tim Keeney
Not so fast on this trade, reports ESPN's Marc Stein and Chad Ford:
But sources told ESPN.com that the Nets fear that they'll be surrendering too much financial flexibility in the trade as currently structured, which has placed the deal in jeopardy.
Another big stumbling block, sources said, is Atlanta's insistence that Brooklyn include promising Nets guard MarShon Brooks in the trade.
Surrendering too much financial flexibility is a bit of an understatement, as Joe Johnson is owed around $89 million over the next four years. If the Nets were to take his contract on, it will make it hard to accomplish other moves.
Losing Brooks, who averaged 12.6 points per game during his rookie season, would also be tough to do.
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UPDATE: Sunday, July 1 at 12:13 p.m. ET
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports has the latest on the trade talks between the Nets and Hawks.
Nets, Hawks could reach a decision on possible Joe Johnson deal today, sources tell Y! If trade doesn't happen, Nets will push for OJ Mayo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2012
The Nets acquiring Johnson along with his massive contract is an absurd idea. Brooklyn would lose a lot of salary cap flexibility going forward with his contract. Pursuing Mayo in free agency is a much better option because the former Grizzlies guard won't cost as much and has similar offensive talent.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the Nets are discussing the possibility of acquiring Hawks All-Star Joe Johnson.
Brooklyn and Atlanta are engaged in talks on a possible Joe Johnson trade, sources tell Y! Nets plan would be to pair with Deron Williams.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2012
No details of the proposed deal are available at this writing, but the prospect of Johnson in a Nets uniform has to have Brooklyn fans salivating.
Adding a scorer like Johnson would be a terrific incentive for Williams to re-sign with New Jersey instead of jumping to Dallas. The two guards (and their combined nine All-Star appearances) would make New Jersey’s backcourt formidable enough to turn a 22-44 team into a borderline playoff contender—presuming Brook Lopez is healthy next year.
Of course, Lopez might well be heading out of town, because it’s hard to imagine whom else the Hawks might be hoping to acquire in such a deal. Johnson’s outstanding performance hasn’t added up to much playoff success for the team, and new GM Danny Ferry would hardly be foolish enough to give Johnson away for nothing.
That said, a shakeup is probably in order in Atlanta—if the Nets can make a reasonable offer for Johnson, Ferry could be well served by pulling the trigger. After five straight playoff trips without even a conference finals appearance, the core of Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford may well have run out of chances to succeed as a group.