Report: Nets in talks with Hawk for Joe Johnson trade

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Talk about big ticket item.

Yahoo Sports reports that the New Jersey Nets are in talks with the Atlanta Hawks about a potential trade for Joe Johnson.

In a potential move that would cripple their aspirations of eventually acquiring Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, the Brooklyn Nets are engaged in talks with the Atlanta Hawks on a deal for All-Star swingman Joe Johnson, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Nets’ plan would be to pair Johnson and point guard Deron Williams to create an All-Star backcourt. No deal is close, and the Hawks and Nets were both discussing deals on several fronts, sources said. Hawks officials have told teams they have multiple trade possibilities.

via Brooklyn Nets discussing trade for Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson – Yahoo! Sports.

After years of stagnation, the Hawks are in complete rebuild mode under new GM Danny Ferry. Yet any serious rebuilding efforts are blocked by Johnson, whose max contract still has four years remaining and which ends up in the $20-million-plus range in the final year of the deal, crippling under the new CBA. Billy King and the Deron-Williams-desperate Nets could be their Get-Out-Of-Luxury-Tax-Free card.

The Nets want a star, and the idea here is to pair Williams with Johnson, but not with Dwight Howard. Due to salary cap structures and the new CBA, the Nets would not be able to bring in Dwight Howard if they acquire Johnson. There is some speculation that Johnson could be seen as a “Plan B” if Deron Williams isn’t re-signed as well.

Johnson’s efficiency is slipping as his age climb just as his contract really gets going year-by-year. But he’s an exceptional defender, something that’s often overlooked, and still can have monster scoring nights. But for the Nets, this seems a bit desperate. Trading for Johnson would be proof that no contract is untradeable. He’s an All-Star but only in the loosest sense of the word.

There are big rumblings across the NBA landscape as free agency season begins.