NBA Trade Rumors: Joe Johnson Update

Coming into focus.

The one thing about this whole Joe Johnson trade rumor to the Nets is that I have been totally expecting things to fall apart.

Consider the following points of potential failure here:

  • Deron Williams doesn't re-sign with Brooklyn
  • The Nets want to wait on Dwight Howard.
  • The Nets want to acquire other free agents that bringing Joe in would prevent.
  • The Hawks ask for too much in return for Joe Johnson.
  • Deron Williams re-signs with Brooklyn, but doesn't like the Joe Johnson approach the Nets are taking.

I am sure there are others but these have been enough to make me, while optimistic, still considerably cautious.

Yet, here we are -- two days later -- and not only is it still real, it feels like more momentum toward a deal.

Even in NBA Insider circles, it's looking more likely. Consider Chad Ford in his latest chat.

Chad Ford (1:34 PM)

Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Mirza Teletovic, Brook Lopez.

Dave (Salt Lake)

How does Billy King still have a job? Seriously, how can he defend trading the 6th pick for Gerald Wallace, who they could have gotten anyways in free agency?

Chad Ford (1:36 PM)

Not only that. Because they traded for him, they were forced to do anything to re-sign him. Wallace's agent had them trapped in a corner. I couldn't find one team over the past week interested in Wallace for 3 years, $24 million let alone 4 years, $40 million. The Joe Johnson -- give away all of our remaining assets for one of the 3 worst contracts in the NBA debacle -- will be the icing on the cake. Enjoy your 42-40 Nets everyone!

Oof. Hey, uh, Chad, keep it down, will ya? Let's focus more on the stuff like Sebastian Pruiti came up with on Twitter today:



Yes, yes, I like this approach -- Joe was much more effective as a spot up rather than a dribble, dribble and fire it up scorer last season -- and to continue the good vibes, let's focus on the Joe Johnson that killed it in 2003-2004 as a spot up killer for the Suns, shooting around 48 percent on threes for the year. Maybe in New Jersey he can make that happen again.

Zach Lowe at SI.com resets the scenarios the Nets are looking at in regards to who would be coming to Atlanta in such a deal.

The Nets could re-sign Williams and agree to trade for Johnson (who has four years and $89 million left on his contract) in one of two ways. The first is to go about $7.5 million under the cap, as explained above, and use the cap space to absorb Johnson's gargantuan contract in a trade that sends out four players - Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar and Jordan Williams - whose salaries add up to about $7.3 million less than Johnson's $19.75 million salary for 2012-13. The math is very, very tight on this and may turn on the exact amount of Wallace's 2012-13 cap number.

As an alternative, Brooklyn could just stay over the cap (by keeping Humphries' cap hold on the books) and construct a similar deal for Johnson that may include Humphries as a sign-and-trade chip. Any deal in this over-the-cap scenario would have to include more outgoing salary. This path has the benefit of keeping the full mid-level exception, worth more than $5 million per season, available as a way of luring a better free agent. The Nets are reportedly interested in Bosnian star forward Mirza Teletovic as a mid-level candidate.

Read the whole thing -- it's an excellent synopsis of the Nets' options and makes it easy to see how this has gained momentum.

It once seemed impossible, now, seeing it in so many forums, entirely plausible and moving towards probable.

Crazy pills? Maybe, but it's a fun ride.

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