Yesterday the Brooklyn Nets agreed to a four-year contract extension with Gerald Wallace.
Today the team acquired Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, Jordan Williams and a 2013 first-round pick that originally belonged to the Houston Rockets.
The only thing left is to sign Deron Williams and the first season in Brooklyn is sure to be a memorable one.
The beginning of free agency was once again marred by Dwight Howard’s demands. Last season he said he wanted out of Orlando, yet decided to opt into his contract. The Magic responded by cleaning out the front office for his approval, in which Howard responded by reiterating his desire to be traded and claiming that he will only sign an extension with the Nets.
Instead of waiting for the flip-flopping Howard to make a decision, the Nets made the decision for him. They re-signed the hard-nosed Wallace, who happened to be the best small forward on the market. They traded for Johnson, an all-star caliber player and dependable scorer. They stayed faithful to Brook Lopez, who when healthy, is a top five center.
The Nets decided they would no longer wait for Howard, and made the deal for Johnson instead.
Johnson carried the load in Atlanta for seven seasons, averaging 21 points and 5 assists, while helping the team end its eight-year playoff drought in the 2007-2008 season. Despite his all his contributions to the Hawks franchise, he has been criticized for his inability to take the team past the conference semifinals and for the hefty price tag attached to him.
Johnson was the man in Atlanta, but in Brooklyn he doesn’t need to be. He can fit in as a complimentary piece to Williams in the backcourt, a versatile shooting guard who can hit from the perimeter and create for himself. If the Nets win, his contract is secondary.
A quartet of Williams, Johnson, Wallace and Lopez is enticing. Sprinkle in MarShon Brooks, Gerald Green and rookie Tyshawn Taylor and you are looking at team that can win the Atlantic Division. Also, the Nets still have enough cap room to pursue a formidable player or two to fill the frontcourt.
These latest moves orchestrated by General Manager Billy King and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov prove that the Nets are closing the door on Howard coming to Brooklyn. By closing that door, the Nets can finally focus on what is most important, winning.