Written by: Matthew Blunk
Prokie must be really desperate to open up the shiny new Barclays Center with some superstars next season.
As free agency opened in the NBA on July 1, the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks were negotiating a possible trade that would send Hawks guard Joe Johnson to Brooklyn for some combination of MarShon Brooks, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, and Jordan Williams (or, translated in common sense, MarShon Brooks and a bunch of expiring contracts).
As you can tell, details are a bit sketchy at the moment. As in, why would the Nets want Johnson and his enormous contract that still has four years left on it? What happens when the Orlando Magic trade Dwight Howard to a team willing to rent him for a year and Howard hits free agency next summer? Unless Deron Williams takes a bit of a pay cut (and his sidekick Jason Kidd plays for free…oh yeah, and Gerald Wallace just got paid, too), the Nets will find themselves cap-strapped when Howard wants to negotiate.
It would appear that GM Billy King and the aforementioned Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov wish to make a "Big Three" of their own with this thinking, as Howard has been linked to the team since it became clear he wouldn't win anything in Orlando. And now the trade chatter surrounds Johnson. Without some impressive cap maneuvering, a "Deron-Dwight-Joe" trio is pretty far from plausible. But if the Nets are thinking more realistically, and that they lack the assets to acquire Howard via trade and indeed want to open the 2012-13 season in a new city and new arena with two glowing superstar players no matter who they are - then it makes sense.
For the Hawks, it makes a colossal amount of sense to unload Johnson. His contract is as over-the-top as a Sam Raimi film, and his game - well, they don't call him "Iso Joe" for nothing. Now, getting back only but a few expiring contracts isn't the most ideal return, but for Atlanta, it just might be a case of addition-by-subtraction. The latest reports indicate that Brooklyn doesn't want to part with Brooks (apparently they'd rather have no one else on the roster ever touch the ball than Johnson and Brooks), which should be a deal-breaker. There's no way the Hawks trade a star wing like Johnson for a handful of Super Saver coupons. At least Brooks has potential as a scorer in the NBA.
Whatever the case, this is an unusual potential trade on the surface. But maybe we're all just pawns in Prokie's master plan.
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