The Brooklyn Nets have reached an agreement in principle to acquire Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
The trade sends guards Anthony Morrow, Jordan Farmar and DeShawn Stevenson and forwards Jordan Williams and Johan Petro to the Hawks, along with a lottery-protected 2013 first-round pick the Nets acquired from the Houston Rockets. Stevenson is a free agent, so he will go to the Hawks in a sign-and-trade deal.
Johnson, 31, has four years and nearly $90 million dollars left on his contract. Shedding his contract gives Atlanta immense cap relief and flexibility moving forward. The Hawks created more flexibility by also reaching agreement on a trade to send Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz for Devin Harris, league sources confirmed to Y! Sports' Marc Spears. Harris has one year and $8.5 million remaining on his contract. Williams has two years and $15.8 million left on his deal.
The deal for Johnson eliminates the Nets from pursuing a deal with Orlando for All-Star center Dwight Howard in the short-term, but could open the possibility of Atlanta making a bid to bring Howard back to his boyhood home. The Hawks could have $25 million in salary-cap space next summer. They also have attractive young talent, including center Al Horford and guard Jeff Teague, to offer Orlando.
Brooklyn officials met with Deron Williams Monday night for what the Nets hope would be a final walk-through with the All-Star point guard on the organization's plans to surround him with talent and become an Eastern Conference contender.The Magic showed no inclination to negotiate a Howard trade with the Nets, and sources say Williams gave his blessing for general manager Billy King to build a supporting cast without Howard.
Both the Nets and the Dallas Mavericks expect Williams to decide on Tuesday where he'll sign. Nevertheless, the Nets have become increasingly confident Williams will decide to stay.
What won't be much a part of the Nets' presentation to Williams: How they'll continue to try and pry All-Star center Dwight Howard out of Orlando. The deal for Johnson – along with a $40 million extension for Gerald Wallace and and an eventual $50 milllion-plus deal for center Brook Lopez – almost assures the Nets will be out of the Howard derby.
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