The Brooklyn Nets have lost eight of their last 10 games and find themselves outside of the top eight spots in the Eastern Conference. It’s apparent that the team won’t be a contender this season, and they’re reportedly looking to deal all of their top players.
Joe Johnson is the Nets’ star most recently involved in trade rumors. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Brooklyn has been discussing a potential deal with the Charlotte Hornets. The proposed trade would send Johnson to Charlotte in exchange for Lance Stephenson, Gerald Henderson and Marvin Williams.
Johnson is owed $24.9 million in the final year of his contract next season, but the trade wouldn’t offer the Nets any salary cap relief. Marvin Williams is owed $7 million next year, while Henderson has a $6 million player option in the final season of his contract. Stephenson is set to make $9 million next year, and his deal ends with a team option to pay him $9.4 million in 2016-2017.
Brooklyn traded for Johnson in 2012 when he had one of the worst contracts in the NBA. He’s averaging 15.5 points on 42.7 percent shooting, posting his lowest scoring average since the 2002-2003 season. Johnson’s been battling tendinitis, but Wojnarowski reports that Charlotte owner Michael Jordan is “intrigued” about acquiring him. The shooting guard averaged over 20 points per game in every season from 2005-2009.
Stephenson has seemingly been available since Dec.15, when free agents from this past summer were first allowed to be dealt. The swingman has failed to fit in with his new team, recently returning from a pelvic injury that kept him off the court for 14 games. He’s averaging 9.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, on just 38.5 percent field-goal shooting. The Hornets had been without a postseason spot for most of the year, but they’ve won nine of 11 games to move past the Nets for the No.8 seed.
Brooklyn has discussed acquiring Stephenson in exchange for players other than Johnson. Brook Lopez has been at the center of trade rumors, and he was reportedly almost sent to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team deal that would have brought Stephenson to the Nets. Brooklyn is reportedly still looking to deal Lopez, but they are hoping to get more in return than Charlotte’s shooting guard.
The Nets might be hopeful to break up the core that they once thought could help win them a championship. Not only is the team looking to trade Johnson and Lopez, but they have unsuccessfully tried to deal Deron Williams. The veteran point guard was once considered among the best players at his position, but his production has declined over the past two seasons. Having missed nine consecutive games with a rib injury, while averaging 13.9 points, 6.3 assists and shooting under 40 percent, Brooklyn might be stuck with Williams and the more than $43 million he’s owed over the final two years of his contract.
Having lost 26 of their first 44 games, the Nets are tied for the 19th best record in the league.