The Brooklyn Nets are close to completing a trade for Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson in a move that would likely take the team out of the running for Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, according to multiple reports. The deal was apparently first reported by the Star-Ledger's Colin Stephenson.
NBA.com's David Aldridge reported the terms of the deal.
Multiple reports initially said the deal was contingent on free agent point guard Deron Williams re-signing with Brooklyn, but now reports say the trade will happen either way.
The trade likely takes the Nets out of the running for Howard, who has requested a trade and reportedly prefers to go to Brooklyn. The team had tried to acquire Howard throughout last season. Now, if the trade for Johnson goes through, the team's cap situation would make a move for Howard more difficult.
ESPN.com's Chris Broussard tweeted about the Nets' decision to move ahead with the trade for Johnson even though it may cost them a chance to land the All-Star center.
The players in the deal for Johnson-- Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams and DeShawn Stevenson -- are not essential pieces for the Nets. The team was able to hold onto both Gerald Green and MarShon Brooks, two young players the organization likes.
ESPN.com's Chad Ford and Marc Stein, who had previously reported the trade talks, reported on Sunday that the inclusion of Brooks was one of the snags that was holding up the move. The two sides were able to work around that issue.
As the deal is currently set up, the Nets would hold on to their own future first-round draft picks. The first-round pick included in the deal is a lottery-protected pick from the Houston Rockets. New Hawks general manager Danny Ferry now will have plenty of cap space for next summer. Johnson signed a six-year, $119 million deal in 2010. At the time, Atlanta looked to be on the rise, but the Hawks' progress stalled. The team has failed to make the jump into the Eastern Conference's elite. With the Heat, Bulls and Pacers all looking strong in the near future, Atlanta's hopes of winning with its current core look bleak. By moving Johnson, the team will now have a chance to rebuild next offseason.