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Is Cleveland third team in Nets trade scenarios?

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Almost every time there's trade speculation regarding the Nets, the words "third team" enters the picture. The Nets need a "third team" to acquire Josh Smith. The Nets need a "third team" to acquire Paul Millsap.

Sam Amico, who's had a hit-and-miss record on trade speculation in recent years, speculates that again Cleveland and its GM, Chris Grant, could be the "third team" for the Nets, noting that the Cavaliers, who have a lot of cap space and a couple of expiring deals, may want draft picks as the price of participation. He also notes Billy King and Grant talked last week (although King likely talked to a lot of GM's recently.)

With an abundance of cap space and a few expiring deals of his own, Grant likely isn’t done.

Grant and Hawks GM Danny Ferry are tight (Grant was Ferry’s assistant when Ferry was GM in Cleveland), as are Ferry and Nets GM Billy King. That has led to speculation the Cavs could become that third team in a Hawks-Nets deal. Grant also supposedly spent some time on the phone with King last week.

The Cavs are seeking (more) draft picks. In order to land one, they’ll supposedly take on a player whose contract expires at the end of next season (such as Humphries).

But as Amico notes, Grant has a reputation throughout the league as a difficult trade partner, an issue that could be doubly problematic in a multi-team deal. "Grant is known for changing terms of a deal if he thinks he can do better — or backing out altogether at the 11th hour," wrote Amico.

The Cavs have a number of expiring contracts in Daniel Gibson, Omri Casspi, Luke Walton and Wayne Ellington plus a partial guarantee next season on C.J. Miles. The Nets of course have all their picks between this year's draft and 2019.

Meanwhile, Ric Bucher adds to the consensus that the Nets don't have enough assets to entice Ferry into dealing Smith without a third team and suggests that the Hawks may want to move Smith out west anyway. He writes on Sulia...

Source: Atlanta Hawks are looking to move Josh Smith, but Brooklyn Nets don't have the necessary pieces to make a deal without including a third team. The Spurs have also been rumored to be interested and, aside from having a built-in level of trust with Hawks GM Danny Ferry, have the kind of assets that would allow them to make a more "interesting" deal, according to the source. It also makes far more sense for the Hawks to move Smith to the Western Conference rather than put him where he would serve as competition.