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Tuesday, February 12, 2013
King: Not going to force a trade

By Mike Mazzeo

Will the Brooklyn Nets make a deal by the Feb. 21 trade deadline?

“I’m not going to make a trade just to make a trade,” Nets GM Billy King told reporters in Indiana Monday.

In recent days, the Nets have been linked to Josh Smith and Ben Gordon, with sources telling ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that pursuing Smith is a high priority for the team.

But Brooklyn is lacking in tradeable assets. Kris Humphries, who will have a $12 million expiring contract next season, is their main one. Then there’s MarShon Brooks, the highly talented/sometimes mistake-prone 24-year-old swingman who has struggled to gain confidence while playing sporadic minutes. Brooks is making just $1.16 million this season and won’t be eligible for restricted free agency until the 2015-16 campaign.
The Nets also have several future first-round picks at their disposal, and Tyshawn Taylor’s career-high 12-point, 34-minute performance on Monday night only increased his value in a potential deal.

Smith, 27, becomes a free agent at season’s end. He’s averaging 17.1 points and 8.6 rebounds, and would certainly be an upgrade at power forward, assuming the Nets could land him. Just imagine a lineup featuring Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Smith and Brook Lopez ...

King and Hawks GM Danny Ferry have already conducted business, working out the blockbuster trade that sent Joe Johnson to Brooklyn in exchange for a package of expirings and picks.

Still, the Hawks may be able to get more for Smith, who is in the prime of his career, from another team; The Nets would likely want to know they could lock Smith up to an extension before acquiring him.

King is known for his aggressiveness and ability to orchestrate three- or four-team deals. While he says the Nets may stand pat, you have to figure he’ll explore every avenue given that owner Mikhail Prokhorov would like to see the team get to the Eastern Conference finals this season.

Do you think the Nets will make a trade? Weigh in in the comments section below.