Brooklyn Nets Blockbuster!

Joe Johnson To Nets
Photo: Keith Allison

I’ve been saying that I’m impressed at how the Nets have been uber-aggressive so far in free agency, and now it look like they have made the first big move of the off-season in acquiring Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks.
Marc Stein from ESPN reported late last night that Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, DeShawn Stevenson (via sign-and-trade) and a future first-round pick would be traded to Atlanta.
Chris Broussard of ESPN tweeted this afternoon that there was in fact a deal done. He then followed up that the Nets would’ve preferred Dwight Howard, but the Magic did not want to make a deal with them. The Magic reportedly are not interested in Brook Lopez.
Now, in a game of musical chairs, Hoopsworld’s Lang Greene writes that Atlanta may pursue a trade with the Orlando Magic for Howard which would include All-Star Al Horford as the headlining piece if Howard were to agree to sign with the Hawks long term.
Howard’s home town happens to be Atlanta, and his long time good buddy, Hawks forward Josh Smith has taken the lead recruiting role of trying to bring the big center back home. They are close. In fact, Dwight was Josh Smith’s best man at Josh’s wedding, writes Jason McIntyre from The Big Lead. He thinks it would be even better if Howard plays in Orlando and becomes a free agent next season. The Hawks will have oodles of cash to spend and can then keep Horford.
The nixed Howard trade to the Nets is understandable. The Magic are just fed up with Dwight Howard, who jerked them around for months, so why would they give him what he wanted? “OH, NO, Talk to the hand, Dwight. You will go where we tell you to go!” is their line of thinking, no doubt.
Meanwhile, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweets that the Nets are meeting with Deron Williams right now, and that the Johnson deal will go down whether Deron Williams stays or goes. They are committing to Johnson.
The Nets did the right thing because the Dwight Howard deal was not going to happen. they had to go for the #2 choice to have a shot at keeping Deron Williams, because they are out of time. They had to have something solid done, and rather than gamble again, as they had done so many times before, since the Lebron James fiasco, they took the sure thing. A JJ in the hand is better than two in the bush.
So they sign Johnson, and they have improved themselves. However, even with Johnson, they are no better than a .500 team. They’ll need to make another move to get a power forward better than Mr. Kardashian to make the playoffs. There are people raving now that the Nets are contenders. Based off of what??? Joe Johnson is a nice player. A great #2 guy, and if you consider Deron Williams being their #1 guy, who is #3? Lopez? Gerald Wallace? Nice players but complimentary guys. You’ll need a solid #3 guy to compete, even with the Knicks.
But even if they don’t, they’ve made an important move that gets people talking, and that’s what they want, a buzz going into their inaugural season in Brooklyn. Should they lose Williams, they’ll make another splashy signing. They’ll likely go after Nash, OJ Mayo, Jason Terry or a combination of those. They may even make a desperate run at J Kidd for old times sake, who knows? But the important thing is that they made a move to improve the team. they are finally headed in the right direction.
But let’s give a little ink to Atlanta’s wheeling and dealing. The Hawks also are trading Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz for Devin Harris’s expiring contract, to clear even more space from their payroll.
Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie likes both deals from the Hawks perspective, adding, “Sometimes you have to dig down to pull yourself up from a middling level.” He cites the flexibility that the Hawks now have, but likes it less from a Nets perspective, saying that the Nets will become what the Hawks were with Johnson.
For a team saddled in mediocrity for the past ten years, I think a chance to win a second round playoff series next season would bring back visions of J Kidd running the offense. Speaking of the devil, deja vu anyone? Or better yet, would Prokorov love to pry Linsanity from the Knicks? Alex Kennedy of Hoops World thinks the Nets could still offer a poison pill, back-loaded contract that the Knicks could not match.
Can you imagine the Nets stealing Lin from under the Knick’s noses? OOOH, this is getting crazy!

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