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Trade rumors fly, but their credibility questioned

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

With a single tweet, Mitch Lawrence set the Nets —and Thunder— fanbases aflame.

As of Thursday morning, Lawrence, formerly the Daily News basketball columnist who now works for a variety of outlets, had not followed up and no other reporter, national or local, had confirmed it. There was no comment from the Nets.

Is the rumor credible? First of all, as reported, the proposal simply doesn’t work under the CBA. Try working it through the ESPN Trade Machine. The Nets would have to send a LOT more to the Thunder to get it done.

Jeremy Lin, who sat courtside at Wednesday’s Summer League game in Las Vegas, dismissed the speculation in talking with Brian Lewis. Lin told Lewis that Jim Tanner, his agent, had told him nothing was brewing.

“I didn’t [get a call]. My agent called me just to clarify,” Lin said. “But no, I don’t think there’s any. I don’t think that has any truth to it.”

There’s no doubt that the Thunder are trying to get something back for Carmelo Anthony, who wants out. As of now, they have a huge luxury tax bill awaiting ownership, one of the NBA’s least rich, if they don’t. As of now, that tax bill would be $150 million, $60 million higher than what the Nets paid out in 2014.

But aside from the trade not working under the CBA, there are other issues. Because of the Stepien Rule, OKC can’t trade any first round pick until 2021. They don’t have a second rounder either next year. And buying out Anthony at a rate similar to that of Dwight Howard’s payoff would leave the Nets with around $45 million in dead money.

Is it possible there have been talks? Sure. Sean Marks and Sam Presti are both former assistant GM’s in San Antonio and know a lot of the same people. But the Lawrence tweet, again absent any confirmation, doesn’t fly.

Of course, ironies would abound if anything remotely like this went down. The Nets would finally have Melo, Howard and Deron Williams on their payroll and Lin would be traded for a player who torpedoed his Knick career.

There are other rumors out there as well. Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (but not Shams Charania) tweeted out that the Nets are among teams trying to engage the Celtics in a sign-and-trade for Marcus Smart.

Sean Marks certainly met with Smart and his agent Happy Walters. Mike Scotto provided a photograph. But Danny Ainge reportedly reached out to Smart on Wednesday, at the very least to “touch base,” according to Mark Murphy who covers the Celtics for the Boston Herald and on Thursday, Ainge told reporters retaining Smart is the team’s highest priority.

So there you have it: new rumors but are they credible? Doesn’t seem like it, but things change. So, all we can advise you to do is refresh, refresh, refresh.