The Hawks were not close to any trades as of this afternoon, according to a person with knowledge of their plans, but talks are fluid. They’ve continued discussions with the Nets about Johnson, and clearly Brooklyn (feels weird to write that) has plenty of expiring contracts to offer in return.
Update 4:55 p.m.: ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that a discussed proposal would have the Nets sending Atlanta Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, Anthony Morrow and Jordan Williams. According to Stein, the Hawks are insisting that former Tucker High star MarShon Brooks be included in the deal while Brooklyn would rather Atlanta take on one of its free agents in a sign-and-trade.
Stein also reports the Nets won’t make the trade until free agent guard Deron Williams commits to re-signing. Williams reportedly will meet with Brooklyn and Dallas tomorrow.
The Hawks could swing a deal that leaves them with massive amounts of cap space next summer. The Nets also have about $4.4 million in trade exceptions available, which function as a credit to be used against the salary-matching requirements. That means the Hawks could take back significantly less salary in a trade with the Nets.
It’s still possible all of this trade talk leads to no deals now and the Hawks wait until later in the summer or next season to pursue trades. But already it’s clear that Ferry is willing to trade a piece of the team’s proverbial “core” in an effort to gain cap space to re-build the roster.
In addition to Johnson, the Hawks have been open to moving forward Josh Smith though they’ve resisted offers so far. Apparently the Hawks balked at a potential deal with the Lakers for Pau Gasol because L.A. wanted another major piece to go along with Smith. That would leave the Hawks with less than six players under contract, less talent, and no short-term cap relief because of the $38 million and two years remaining on Gasol’s contract.
Before Ferry was hired, Smith told the Hawks he wants to be traded to a franchise he considers to be more committed to winning a championship. There’s been no indication that Smith has changed his mind after Ferry’s hire, which does nothing to placate Smith’s desire to also play in what he believes to be a better sports market. Smith’s contract expires after next season.
Ferry said he plans to meet with Smith soon.
“I have talked to Josh, and we agreed to get together,” he said. “It was a positive conversation.”
Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat
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