The Nets and Gerald Wallace reached the first agreement of the NBA free-agent negotiation period Sunday. But they have bigger names on their wish list and bigger deals they hope to hammer out.
According to multiple reports, Wallace agreed on a four-year, $40-million contract that he'll sign July 11 when the moratorium on transactions is lifted. In the coming days, the Nets hope Deron Williams agrees to be their franchise player when they open Barclays Center in Brooklyn this fall. They're trying to make it harder for him to say no.
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The Nets reportedly also have had trade talks for Joe Johnson and Luis Scola, have expressed interest in Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Eric Gordon and Nick Young, hope to sign 6-9 Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic and are Dwight Howard's team of choice.
Some of what the Nets are working on is to entice Williams to stay and some is if the All-Star point guard decides to leave.
The Mavericks can offer Williams a chance to play with Dirk Nowitzki and return home to Dallas. But the Nets, who repeatedly have shown how important Williams is to them, can offer about $25 million more over the life of the five-year deal and perhaps a better roster.
Although Johnson has averaged at least 18 points the last seven seasons, he's 31 and could kill future flexibility. He's owed about $90 million over the next four years.
If the Nets can't get Johnson, they likely will pursue Memphis free-agent guard O.J. Mayo, 24, whom they've previously tried to land through trades.
Howard remains in the picture. ESPN reported that he requested a trade to the Nets. They could offer the Magic a package that includes center Brook Lopez in a sign-and-trade. The Lakers can offer Andrew Bynum to the Magic and the Rockets have many young assets. But if Howard wants to play only for the Nets, any other team trading for him will do so at its own risk.