Report: Nets open to trading Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez
While the report says the team is making the players available, it also says the Nets are not close to trading any of them at this point. Williams, Johnson and Lopez will earn a combined $58.7 million this season, more than any other trio in the league.
After losing to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, the Nets are 8-11 on the season despite having the league's highest payroll at nearly $94 million. Stein and Youngmisuk report the team is not looking to simply cut costs by dealing the players, but that it wants to remain competitive in the Eastern Conference.
Williams, 30, is earning $19.7 million this season. He has two years and more than $43 million remaining on his contract.
Since being acquired from the Utah Jazz in 2010, Williams has been limited by ankle injuries the last few seasons. He is averaging 17.1 points and 6.5 assists this season.
The 33-year-old Johnson has the third-highest salary in the league at more than $23 million and has one season worth nearly $25 million left on his deal. In his third year with the team, he is averaging 15.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 43.9 percent from the field. He criticized the Nets last month for playing selfishly.
Lopez is the youngest of the group at 26 years old, but also the most injury-prone. After being limited to 17 games last season because of a foot injury, Lopez is currently out of the lineup with a back injury.
The center has one season and more than $16 million remaining on his contract. He is averaging 16.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks this season.
After losing in the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season to the Miami Heat, coach Jason Kidd left the team to join the Milwaukee Bucks. The Nets hired former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins to replace him.
The Nets play at the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
- Paul Palladino