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Nets fall to Bulls as trade talk permeates locker room

Left to right, Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee,

Left to right, Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee, guard Deron Williams, guard Sergey Karasev and guard Alan Anderson react as they watch teammates during the second half of an NBA game against the Chicago Bulls in Chicago on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Nam Y. Huh

CHICAGO - If anything were to go down and he's indeed shipped out of town, the good news is Deron Williams won't be blindsided.

That's what a heads-up will do for you.

"It's nice to get a little notice so I don't find out on SportsCenter," Williams told reporters Wednesday, making a playful reference to the way he learned he was traded by the Jazz to the Nets in 2011.

Seemingly at ease with everything even less than an hour before the Nets lost to the Bulls, 105-80, at the United Center, Williams was still in a jovial mood in the locker room, cracking a few jokes. He appeared undaunted by reports indicating the Nets have initiated exploratory trade talks with teams to let them know he's available to be had in a deal along with Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson.

Williams, who had 17 points on 5 of 15 shooting and couldn't get anything going just like the rest of his teammates in a rough second half in which the Nets scored only 29 points, was the lone member of Brooklyn's Big Three to play Wednesday night. Lopez (strained lower back) and Johnson (flu) both were still out.

Same goes for Andrei Kirilenko. He's out, too.

As in sent out of town.

The Nets have agreed to ship Kirilenko, Jorge Gutierrez, a 2020 second-round pick, cash, and the right to swap second-round picks in 2018 to the 76ers in exchange for Brandon Davies, a league source confirmed. The deal is expected to be finalized Thursday.

"Yeah, I know it's tough on him, not being able to play this year and the situation he's in," said Williams, who has known Kirilenko since their days as teammates in Utah. "I wish him nothing but the best."

Shedding Kirilenko's $3.3-million salary should save about $11 million in luxury taxes and signals the end of a somewhat disappointing time for him in Brooklyn. He battled back spasms last season, missing a total of 26 of the first 30 games, and wasn't as integral a piece as initially thought when he signed a two-year deal, $6.6- million deal. He was eager to play more under Lionel Hollins than he did in Jason Kidd's lone year coaching the Nets, but that never materialized.

He fell out of Hollins' rotation rather quickly, logging only 36 minutes in the seven games he played in before spending most of the last three weeks away from the team for personal reasons.

Whether Kirilenko's departure triggers more roster restructuring remains to be seen, but Hollins isn't concerned the trade chatter will have a negative influence on his team.

"Some players are affected by it. Most aren't," Hollins said. "Some are and it gets to be an issue of lack of respect by the organization. Not on teams that I've coached, but you read that around, 'Oh, they don't respect me, they are trying to trade me.' Everybody has an option to do something. When you are a free agent, you have an option to leave. Are you disrespecting the team when you leave and you go sign with somebody else? No.

"It's a business. So it's business when it comes to trade rumors and this is the time of the season for it as we move forward."In other words, it's imperative for them to stay professional no matter what, handling things as if the team will remain constructed as it currently is. Even if that might seem like a long shot proposition.

"When it comes to trades, players have no involvement in that," Kevin Garnett said. "Obviously, management is looking at change, looking at options to better the situation and this is the way they feel. It's out of the players' hands. Coaches are involved when it comes to management, players only have so much input.

"But it still shouldn't affect the way you approach the game, your effort towards the game."

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