The Brooklyn Nets are doing everything they can to retain the services of All-Star point guard Deron Williams, and one of the things that would more than likely help would be getting Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. But with Howard doing his best Brett Favre impersonation, it would seem the Nets have turned to the Atlanta Hawks for a contingency plan.
Talks have been underway between the Nets and the Hawks to bring guard/foward Joe Johnson to Brooklyn via a trade, the thought being that pairing Johnson with Williams would be enough to entice Williams to choose to stay in Brooklyn rather than signing with the Dallas Mavericks.
Johnson was signed to a six-year $119 million deal in July of 2010, and is still owed $90 million over the next four years, so one would have to believe that any trade would most likely include Atlanta picking up at least part of that salary.
Trading Johnson would essentially be a good news/bad news deal for the Hawks. The good being that shedding the Johnson contract would create a lot of salary cap room and flexibility for new GM Danny Ferry, but the bad would be losing a valuable player on the Atlanta roster.
Despite some lackluster performances in the post-season while in Atlanta, Johnson has been a key piece in the rebuilding of the franchise and has helped bring the Hawks back to a position of relevance in the Eastern Conference.
To this point, names of other players potentially involved in a trade have not been specifically mentioned, and no deals are imminent with the Nets or any other teams who have expressed an interest in Johnson.