Before they shot up to the eighth spot in the East by winning six of their last 10 games, the Brooklyn Nets were reportedly contemplating a deal to ship Deron Williams out.

Brooklyn’s NBA-high $101 million payroll, to say nothing of its exorbitant $79 million luxury tax bill, was paying little dividends, and the Nets reportedly spoke to the Houston Rockets, however briefly, about a trade for Williams.

According to CBS Sports, Houston would have sent disgruntled center Omer Asik and point guard Jeremy Lin to Brooklyn, in exchange for Williams. The talks went nowhere, but Williams would have teamed up with Dwight Howard, a duo that could have dominated the East had Orlando shipped the center to Brooklyn rather than Los Angeles in 2012.

The Rockets have been trying to relinquish the final year of Lin’s contract in recent months, with the point guard playing well, but not necessarily well enough to justify his inflated $15 million salary next season. Asik has been a thorn in Houston management’s side since they signed Howard in the summer, with the Turkish-born double-double machine unhappy with his diminished role.

Brooklyn would’ve also gotten a desperately needed big man back, with Brook Lopez done for the season with a broken foot. Not to mention getting Lin back to New York, and one-upping the rival Knicks.

Williams struggled with his role under former head coach Avery Johnson the last two seasons, and much speculation pegged their butting heads to Johnson’s eventual firing. The same goes for his time in Utah under Jerry Sloan.

Still, Williams has played like one of the best floor generals in the league for most of his career, averaging 17.6 points and 8.9 assists per game, and paired with Howard, the Rockets could shoot up the Western Conference.

In other trade news, the New Orleans Pelicans are once again trying to move shooting guard Eric Gordon, according to The Sporting News. The Pelicans are reportedly seeking more size in their front court to pair with star Anthony Davis in exchange for Gordon.

Gordon was initially unhappy when New Orleans acquired him in the mega-Chris Paul trade two years ago, and asked to the team not to match the offer sheet he signed with Phoenix.

However, the Pelicans did hoping Gordon’s attitude would change. With the Clippers, Gordon proved he was one of the best young scorers in the league, averaging more than 20 points per game in his last two seasons in L.A., making New Orleans desires to keep him obvious.

The arrivals of Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans have made Gordon, and the remaining three years and $44.5 million on his contract, expendable. 

The Pelicans are already well under the luxury tax threshold, but moving Gordon’s contract could also allow them to be players in free agency in the coming summers.