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Report: Nets want to trade only one, maybe two, of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez - not all three

Brooklyn Nets v Chicago Bulls - Game Four

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 27: Joe Johnson #7 of the Brooklyn Nets is congratulated by teammates Deron Williams #8 and Brook Lopez #11 after hitting a shot that tied the game and forced a second overtime period in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Bulls during the 2013 NBA Playoffs on April 27, 2013 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

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A report emerged the Nets were shopping Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez.

Brooklyn general manager Billy King also denied the team was having a fire sale.

Was the initial report wrong, or was King lying?

There’s a middle ground where neither is the case.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

The more likely scenario, per team sources, is that the Nets will trade one of the three, two at most, and keep retooling around whoever is left. Team officials want to rebuild while staying competitive.

The 10-12 Nets could probably use a shakeup. Trading one of those players would probably accomplish that. Trading all three would definitely provide a shakeup, though it would make remaining competitive difficult.

But there might be another factor at play.

If the Nets pay the luxury tax this year and next, which they’re projected to do, the repeater tax will kick in next season. If they dump one of Williams, Johnson or Lopez this season without taking salary back, they’d slip below the tax line.

Of course, trading one of those players without taking back salary would be nearly impossible. However, it wouldn’t be quite as difficult to maneuver below next year’s tax line.

Ridiculous spending hasn’t gotten the Nets anywhere but mostly locked into this roster. At this point, a single move is not only more realistic than three, it might be enough to expose a light at the end of the tunnel.