The Brooklyn Nets are making some serious moves, which seem very risky, as they approach their first season in a new arena in Brooklyn. The Nets traded much needed salary cap relief to Atlanta (the expiring contracts of Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Jordan Williams, Anthony Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson) to the Atlanta Hawks for shooting guard Joe Johnson and his albatross of a contract (4 years, nearly $90 million remaining).
The move will be a significant step towards keeping All-Star point guard Deron Williams in Brooklyn, as he has inferred he would stay as long as the Nets continue to improve, and the Nets are clearly improving. Williams is a free agent, and will decide between the staying with the Nets or signing with his hometown Dallas Mavericks within the next few days.
Most experts initially believed that the trade would take the Nets out of the running in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes. Howard has demanded a trade that would send him from the Orlando Magic to the Brooklyn Nets, and has made it known that the Nets are the only team he is willing to sign a long term extension with this offseason. With only one year remaining on his contract, Howard has threatened to explore free agency next summer if the is traded to any other team in the NBA.
The Nets have supposedly offered the Magic a trade which would send center Brook Lopez, forward Kris Humphries, shooting guard MarShon Brooks and three first round draft picks (2013, 2015, 2017) in exchange for the best center in the NBA. However multiple other teams are willing to trade for Howard as a “rental” and are confident that they can convince him to sign a long term extension, and the Nets will have competition from the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Lakers on the trade market.
If the Nets are able to make this trade for Dwight Howard, the team would become a contender in the Eastern conference lead by a “Big Three” of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Dwight Howard with Gerald Wallace making a nice fourth piece. They would not be ahead of the Miami Heat in anyone’s power ranking, but they would have a good a shot as any team in the NBA of knocking the champs out of the playoffs in a seven game series.
Stay Tuned. There should be major developments in this fluid situation today.
NOTE: It seems like this article (below) I wrote may be rather useless. Nets general manager Billy King may prove me wrong.
Of course whoever the Nets would have drafted at sixth overall (say Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond or Damian Lillard) would have probably sealed a Dwight Howard trade with Orlando by now.