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With Kings out of the picture, what's next for Deron and Joe?

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The only way for the Nets to avoid paying luxury and repeater taxes a year from now is to find a way to dump one or both of the $20 million plus backcourt mates, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

On Thursday night and Friday morning, there was some speculation in Sacramento that the Kings, with $22.2 million in cap space, might be willing to talk about a D-Will trade if they failed to get Rajon Rondo.  Well, they got him for $10 million over one year and signed Marco Belinelli as well for another $6 million, the first year of a three-year, $18 million deal. Cap space gone.

So Tim Bontemps has come up with a new list of possibilities, noting the market for Johnson is a lot better than for Williams, who is owed $43 million over two years, compared to Johnson's $25 million.  As Bontemps writes, "the more likely outcome, however, is a trade of Johnson."  Here's his summary...

The Lakers for Johnson

As the Lakers continue to strike out on free agents with more than $20 million in cap space, they also seem more like a potential trade partner. There would be something amusing about the Lakers having the two highest-paid players in the NBA on their roster in Kobe Bryant ($25 million) and Johnson, but it could make some sense for them.

The Grizzlies for Johnson

The Grizzlies were reported as being interested in a Johnson trade last week, and have the contracts to make an interesting deal for both sides.  Memphis has several expiring deals (Jeff Green, Courtney Lee, Matt Barnes and Beno Udrih), and Vince Carter has a non-guaranteed deal for next season, so there are plenty of possibilities to construct a trade.

The Pistons for Johnson

Detroit has spent some money, but could put together a combination of expiring contracts — Brandon Jennings, Anthony Tolliver and Cartier Martin — that would allow them to fit Johnson into some of their remaining cap space while saving the Nets a lot of money.

The question of course is how aggressively are the Nets pushing deals for Johnson. He's a lot more popular now in the corridors of Barclays Center than D-Will and with all the youth being signed, who will provide veteran leadership?