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Report: Hornets, Nets Talking Lance Stephenson, Joe Johnson Swap

The “untradeable” Joe Johhnson just might be on the move again. According to a report, the Brooklyn Nets are discussing a deal that would send the seven-time All-Star to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Lance Stephenson.

The news is courtesy of Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. Charlotte’s Marvin Williams and Gerald Henderson are also part of the proposed trade, presumably for purposes of matching Johnson’s mammoth $23 million salary:

The Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets have restarted trade discussions, this time focused on guard Joe Johnson, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The Hornets and Nets are discussing a larger package that would likely include guards Lance Stephenson and Gerald Henderson and forward Marvin Williams, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Interesting.

The Nets and Hornets have discussed a swap for Stephenson before. They were involved in the failed three-team deal that would have sent Brook Lopez to the Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s no secret that Brooklyn is looking to unload its bigger salaries, either. Johnson, Lopez, and Deron Williams have reportedly been on the trade block since early December.

What shocks is that Charlotte would be willing to take on the final season of Johnson’s deal, especially given that Al Jefferson has a player option for 2015-2016. If Big Al decides to play elsewhere going forward, acquiring Johnson would only preclude the Hornets from gaining a high draft pick. And even if Jefferson stays in Buzz City, it seems unlikely the two – along with the injured Kemba Walker – could put Charlotte over the top in a suddenly strong Eastern Conference upper class.

On the flipside, this would be a major boon for Brooklyn. Though Stephenson hasn’t lived up to expectations with the Hornets, he’s still on a somewhat reasonable contract and there exists a belief that a move home to New York could curb his mercurial nature. Shedding Johnson is of utmost importance to the Nets, too, as Billy King looks to clean house on a team up for sale that topped out as nothing more than mediocre.

Also of interesting note in Wojnarowski’s report is that the Denver Nuggets are the most ardent pursuer of Lopez. Why Tim Connelly would want to curb the development of promising rookie Jusuf Nurkic by acquiring an overpriced, injury prone player is anyone’s guess, though it bears mentioning Brian Shaw has always coveted a true post-up big man.

Will Brooklyn ever make a move? Or simply make for good trade machine fodder? We’ll find out soon enough – the February 19 trade deadline is rapidly approaching.

What do you think?

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