The Nets have dropped eight of 10 games, and fallen a half-game behind the Hornets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Charlotte owner Michael Jordan has been intrigued with the possibility of Johnson, who has struggled recently with tendinitis. Johnson, 33, has one of the three major contracts that the Nets would ideally like to unload, what with the $23.1 million on his 2014-15 deal, and $24.9 million in the final season of his 2015-16 contract.
Brooklyn has been unable to muster a market for guard Deron Williams, who has missed nine straight games with a rib injury. The Nets are still intent on moving Brook Lopez, with the Denver Nuggets remaining an interested trade partner, league sources said.
The Nets and Hornets had serious talks on a three-way deal that would've sent Brook Lopez to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the deal fell apart when Brooklyn had hesitancy on adding the combustible Stephenson and wanted a bigger haul for Lopez.
Johnson is averaging 15 points on the season, below his career 17 points per game average.