By Chris Broussard | ESPN The Magazine
The Brooklyn Nets are aggressively pursuing a trade for Atlanta Hawks star forward Josh Smith, league sources told ESPN.
The two teams are engaged in discussions, but one source said while "there has been lots of talk, nothing is close yet."
As the NBA's Feb. 21 trade deadline nears, Brooklyn is proving to be one of the most active teams in the league. As reported by ESPN.com on Friday, sources said the Nets also are talking with the Charlotte Bobcats about a Kris Humphries-for-Ben Gordon trade.
While the Nets certainly want Gordon, sources said acquiring Smith is their higher priority. A trade for Smith would seemingly kill a deal for Gordon, because Humphries is one of the players being discussed with Atlanta.
The Nets are willing to give up Humphries and second-year shooting guard MarShon Brooks for Smith. But it almost certainly will take more than a Humphries-Brooks combination to pry Smith away from Atlanta, and one source said the Hawks want Brooklyn's first-round pick.
Some scenarios that have been discussed include the Hawks' Anthony Morrow, who played the past two seasons with the Nets, returning to the club.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported Saturday that the Hawks want a young center in return for Smith.
The Nets may have to get a third team involved to pull off a trade for Smith.
Smith will become a free agent this summer, and Atlanta is deciding whether to trade him before the deadline. One source close to the situation estimated there is a 60 percent chance the Hawks will move him.
If the Hawks don't trade Smith, they risk losing him for nothing as a free agent. Atlanta could re-sign Smith, but he wants close to maximum-salary money, if not the max.
One school of thought has the Hawks keeping Smith in order to make themselves more attractive to Smith's longtime friend and fellow Atlanta native, Dwight Howard.
Howard, who is struggling through a nightmarish season with the Los Angeles Lakers, will become a free agent this summer, and Atlanta will join Dallas and Houston in offering him a max-salary contract. Sources have said Howard has little interest in playing in Atlanta.
Josh Smith being pursued by Brooklyn Nets in trade talks, according to sources - ESPN New York
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