Luol Deng, Joe Johnson

Luol Deng Brooklyn-bound? (AP)

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Here's some Nets news & notes from around the 'net:
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Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry on the move? (AP)

The Brooklyn Nets are emerging as a potential landing destination for Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

via Wojnarowski:
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Mirza Teletovic, Alan Anderson, Josh Harrellson

On left: Mirza Teletovic. (AP)

Is Mirza Teletovic on the way out? Probably not, but a curious comment from his European agent has us questioning.... MORE →

 

AP

According to recent reports, the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns have emerged as frontrunners in the race to acquire Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks, with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports calling the Boston Celtics a "darkhorse." The Brooklyn Nets have not been mentioned, making it appear that they're either out of the race.

The Nets will likely not make any deal at all if they're unable to swing a major trade for Smith, which appears more and more likely as the 3 P.M. trade deadline inches closer.

The Brooklyn Nets' offer of Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and a first-round draft pick or Bojan Bogdanovic does not appear to have the enticing flavor that Hawks GM Danny Ferry is looking for in rebuilding his team without Smith. If anything, it appears the Hawks used the Nets deal as leverage to get other teams to up their offers for the forward. (The leverage with a deal like that can only go so far.)

Humphries' contract - $12 million per year -- is the Nets' biggest trade asset at this point, but its value is severely tempered, as it expires next year rather than this year.

 

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics have discussed a trade that would send Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets, with the Nets offering Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and a first-round draft pick. The Celtics apparently want a "more substantial" package, requesting forward Mirza Teletovic and potentially another pick, but the Nets balked at paying that price.

The Nets have have discussions with the Celtics before about Pierce, though it's unlikely that Boston would want to trade him to a division rival for an underwhelming package. Adding Pierce would create an additional logjam at small forward for the Nets, who already have Gerald Wallace signed for four years at around $40 million.

From the report:

"The Celtics still highly value Pierce and it wouldn't make sense to trade him for that kind of a package if they're keeping Kevin Garnett," one league source said.

Wojnarowski added that the Celtics, reportedly looking to bolster their guard rotation, also inquired about backup point guard C.J. Watson, but were rebuffed by the Nets.

Read More: NBA trade deadline buzz: Nets make offer for Celtics guard Paul Pierce

 

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

Josh Smith has expressed a desire to play with Milwaukee guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, though the Bucks would likely need to part with Ellis to make a deal palatable for Atlanta. Phoenix has also been linked to a potential deal that would send C Marcin Gortat to Oklahoma City for C Kendrick Perkins. According to an earlier report from ESPN's Brian Windhorst, the Hawks are not interested in acquiring Kris Humphries, who is in the first year of a two-year deal worth $12 million per season.

There are 23 hours until the trade deadline.

 

Via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

The Nets are trying to make a deal for (Josh) Smith, too, and have offered Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and either a future first-round pick or the draft rights to Croatian Bojan Bogdanovic, sources said.

Ken Berger of CBS Sports later followed up the report, noting that the Nets would almost assuredly have to acquire Smith before this year's trade deadline, as they'd have to move significant salary to fit under the luxury tax apron required to complete a sign-and-trade under the new collective bargaining agreement. Berger added that the "deadlock" between what the Hawks want (youth, draft picks) and what teams are offering (long-term salary) may push the odds slightly in Brooklyn's favor.

As I noted earlier, it'll be increasingly difficult for the Nets to pull off a deal for Smith, especially considering their lack of assets.

Read More: Yahoo! Sports: NBA trade deadline buzz: Clippers end Kevin Garnett trade talks – for now

 

The Atlanta Hawks have made it no secret that forward Josh Smith is available, and the Brooklyn Nets, with a dearth of starting-level talent at the power forward position and a GM that's no stranger to making moves, have either entered themselves or been entered by default into the conversation of teams looking to acquire him.

Nets fans have been through this before... MORE →

 

Move over, Melodrama! Sit down, Dwightmare! Here comes the... Smoovement? The Smoove Move? Smoove Takeoff? Josh Kibosh? J-Moove? Okay, maybe this needs work.

After earlier reports from ESPN's Chris Broussard that the Brooklyn Nets were interested in acquiring Josh Smith, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports and ESPN's Marc Stein both confirm the Nets' interest hasn't waned. Wojnarowski calls the Nets "solely focused" on completing a deal for the Hawks forward. Stein reports that one team "close to the situation" (please help me figure out what that means) predicts Smith will end up in a Brooklyn Nets uniform before Thursday's 3 P.M. trade deadline.

It's still not clear just what the Nets would deal to acquire Smith -- a third team would most likely have to get involved, and Nets GM Billy King has only completed one multi-team trade since joining the franchise, netting the Nets Troy Murphy in a four-team deal at the beginning of his tenure. Kris Humphries and MarShon Brooks remain the Nets' strongest trade pieces, which isn't the type of package you'd expect Atlanta to jump for. Along with draft picks, the Nets could sweeten the pot with the rights to Eurostashes Bojan Bogdanovic & Ilkan Karaman, but that still doesn't seem like enough. "Interest" and "hard push" are just buzzwords unless the Nets can find assets appealing enough to interest Atlanta.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst adds that the Hawks are not interested in Kris Humphries, nor are multiple teams the Nets are trying to rope into a multi-team trade.

There are 52 hours until the trade deadline.

 

The hits keep coming. According to Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News, the Nets have expressed interest in Portland forward/center J.J. Hickson. The 6'9" Hickson is having a career year for the Blazers, averaging 12.7 PPG and 10.2 REB, but as Bondy notes in his tweet, not only would Hickson lose his bird rights if dealt, but he could also veto any trade.

Bondy later tweeted this:

The Nets are no stranger to trade rumors, and it's no secret that they've looked to bring in someone new to fill the power forward spot. But as we've learned in the past, rumors are just rumors until something actually happens. So for now, just sit back, enjoy Brook Lopez's new haircut this weekend and take in what should be a fun round of All-Star festivities in Houston.

 

AP

The Brooklyn Nets are making a concerted effort to acquire Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks, according to ESPN.com's Chris Broussard, calling Smith a "top priority."

Smith, one of the more athletic players in the league, would fill an immediate need for Brooklyn -- its serious dearth of athleticism and lack of a starting-quality power forward. Nonetheless, Smith is in the midst of a down season, averaging 16.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game on 45.1% shooting from the field. He is producing 94 points per 100 possessions, easily a career-worst, has his highest turnover rate in five years, and shooting more three-pointers than at any point in his career despite a pedestrian 32.4% rate from outside.

Still, there's no question that Smith has the potential to be one of the league's best power forwards, which is what makes him such an attractive option. He will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, though any team that signs him will have the ability to give him one extra year and roughly $25 million more than any other suitor.

It's unclear what assets the Nets could possibly give up for Smith -- Kris Humphries makes roughly the same amount, but has a contract one year longer and is hardly an asset strong enough that you'd imagine the Hawks would pull the trigger, even with draft picks and prospects attached. Broussard did not mention any potential assets the Nets could use to acquire Smith.

Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry and Nets GM Billy King, both Duke graduates, are friends, and orchestrated the trade over the summer that brought Joe Johnson to the Atlanta Hawks for Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, Jordan Farmar, DeShawn Stevenson, and draft picks.

UPDATE: From Broussard's story on ESPN.com:

The Nets are willing to give up Humphries and second-year shooting guard MarShon Brooks for Smith. But it almost certainly will take more than a Humphries-Brooks combination to pry Smith away from Atlanta, and one source said the Hawks want Brooklyn's first-round pick.

Some scenarios that have been discussed include the Hawks' Anthony Morrow, who played the past two seasons with the Nets, returning to the club.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported Saturday that the Hawks want a young center in return for Smith.

The Nets may have to get a third team involved to pull off a trade for Smith.

Regardless of what the ESPN story says, the Nets could not take Morrow back in any deal, due to a clause in the CBA that states a player cannot be traded back to a team within one year of that team trading him away.

Read More: ESPN -- Sources: Nets covet Josh Smith