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Nets add All-Star Joe Johnson

The Sports Xchange
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--Before free agent guard Deron Williams agreed to stay in Brooklyn, the Nets made a major addition, acquiring forward Joe Johnson from the Hawks.

The Nets sent Atlanta five players and a draft pick. The Hawks receive Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams and Johan Petro. They also will get DeShawn Stevenson in a sign-and-trade arrangement and will get Houston's 2013 lottery-protected pick.

The pick is lottery-protected until 2017, at which point it becomes a second-round pick.

Johnson, 31, is a six-time All-Star, and he averaged 18.8 points and 3.7 rebounds this past season.

The deal reportedly is not contingent on the re-signing of guard Deron Williams, who was meeting with Brooklyn officials Monday.

Adding Johnson and the $89 million over the four years remaining on his contract could make it difficult for the Nets to add Orlando center Dwight Howard, who said he wanted to be traded to Brooklyn. However, the Nets were able to acquire Johnson without having to part with center Brook Lopez, rookie MarShon Brooks or their own first-round pick as they attempt to keep Deron Williams. Brooklyn also signed Gerald Wallace to a four-year, $40 million deal.

Johnson is a scorer who can also handle the ball, an addition expected to please Deron Williams.

Morrow was the highest scoring of the players acquired from the Nets, having averaged 12.0 points last season. Farmar averaged 10.4.

--Before the NBA draft took place, Nets general manager Billy King wanted to be able to get the best players available, even if his team did not have a first-round selection and his first slated pick wasn't supposed to come until No. 57 overall.

With some late night maneuvers, King was able to secure the services of Kansas All-American point guard Tyshawn Taylor in a cash transaction with the Portland Trail Blazers, then took two European players later in the second round.

Taylor, a product of national high school powerhouse St. Anthony H.S. in Jersey City, was a four-year starter at Kansas, scoring 1,580 points and dishing off for 575 assists over his career.

The 22-year-old Taylor was a third-team All-America and first-team All-Big 12 selection, leading the Jayhawks to the NCAA Championship game before falling to Kentucky.

Taylor averaged 16.6 points and 4.8 assists last season for Kansas.

King said that the team liked Taylor from the outset.

"We had him on our board pretty high," King said. "We were trying to get a young point guard that we could groom. We liked his pedigree and his ability to play in big games. Once we started to slide, we made the move to get him. We liked his overall play as a point guard and we think his best basketball is ahead of him."

Added King, "We like his decision-making and his size. He knows what it takes to be successful. He's played with a lot of talented players in the past, and that makes you a better player."

Taylor is an excellent defensive player with good size and quickness. He needs to improve his perimeter game to be successful in the NBA -- he misfired on his first 21 attempts from 3-point range in the NCAA Tournament before making his only trey in the NCAA title loss to Kentucky.

The Nets then acquired the rights for Tornike Shengelia in a trade with Philadelphia for the 54th pick overall. The 20-year-old Shengelia is a 6-foot-8 forward from Tblisi, Georgia, who averaged 8.3 points and 4.3 rebounds for Spirou Charleroi in Belgium in the Euroleague.

The Nets' final pick of the evening was their own selection. With the 57th pick overall, they selected Ilken Karaman, a 6-foot-9 forward from Turkey who played last year for Pinar Karsikaya in the Turkish Basketball League.

The plan is to allow both foreign players to remain in Europe to develop while the Nets hold their draft rights.

"It was pretty quiet for a while, then we got pretty active," King said. "It was a good draft. We would have liked to get a little higher, but we like what we were able to get."

--Deron Williams planned to meet with the Nets and Mavericks during the first week of July, ESPN The Magazine reported.

The Nets star then will decide which one he will play for next season, according to the report.

ESPN also reported that Dallas Mavericks free agent point guard Jason Kidd will join whichever team Williams does. Kidd is nearing the end of his career and would be a willing backup to Williams.

Williams told ESPN that he has spoken to Kidd about playing together, but they are not conspiring to be teammates.

A source told ESPN that Kidd and Williams have already decided to play together for the Nets but another source said Williams is still unsure. Kidd has reportedly recently bought a house in East Hampton, N.Y.

Williams has said he wants to decide before training camp for the Olympics begins in Las Vegas on July 7.

--C Dwight Howard asked to be traded to the Nets, ESPN.com reported June 30.

Howard, who missed the last stretch of the season after getting back surgery, met with new Orlando GM Rob Hennigan in Los Angeles on Friday and asked to be traded to the Nets, sources told ESPN.com.

--Swingman Gerald Wallace reportedly agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with the Nets on July 1.

The deal, reported by ESPN.com, came after Wallace opted out of his $9.5 million player option for the 2012-13 season.

The NBA free agency negotiating period began July 1. Contracts cannot be signed until July 11.

Wallace was acquired from the Trail Blazers for the Nets' first-round draft pick at the trading deadline. He averaged 13.8 points and 6.7 rebounds a game last season.

--The Nets might be getting help coming from Europe. The agent for Mirza Teletovic claimed that the 6-foot-9 combo forward had narrowed down his NBA choices to the Nets and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There was a published report that Teletovic, the Euroleague's top scorer last year for Caja Laboral of Spain, was on the verge of signing a deal with the New York Knicks, but that was not true.

Teletovic's agent, Misko Raznatovic, told European reporters that his client "doesn't know what team he'll play for, but he wants a rebuilding franchise like Brooklyn and Cleveland."

Teletovic, an excellent perimeter shooter, paid $2 million to buy out of his contract with Caja Laboral in order to explore his NBA options. His touch from the outside would be a major plus for the Nets, who had limited success from 3-point range other than guard Anthony Morrow.

--If Deron Williams decides to return to the Brooklyn Nets next season, then Nets fans might want to thank a higher power.

Williams' high school coach, Tommy Thomas, told Dallas reporters recently that he advised Williams to "pray about it and then see what path God has for you."

Not only was Thomas Williams' head coach in high school in Dallas, he was also Williams' first agent, before Thomas was replaced by Jeff Schwartz.

"Deron's always been about winning, so I'm sure that's first and foremost in his mind," Thomas said. "He's already had a great career and made great money. Again, money is important and he needs to take care of his family. But he's also a very competitive guy."

Thomas said that if he was still representing Williams, he would try to convince him to sign with the hometown Mavericks. Williams has not tipped his hand about where he would want to play, but he does want to have a contract in place before he heads to play for Team USA in the Olympics in London in late July.

QUOTE TO NOTE
"I told him that he deserves a multi-year deal. The reality is, being 30 years old, that this is probably his last chance to get a nice contract. Our goal is to try to get him to the point where he's comfortable with the numbers we're offering and keep him in the fold." -- Nets GM Billy King on F Gerald Wallace's pending free agency.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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