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Joe Johnson, Lance Stephenson center of trade talks between Nets and Hornets per report

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Stephenson was previously included in talks centering around Brook Lopez, but now Joe Johnson is in the mix.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets and Charlotte Hornets have resumed discussions on a deal that would send Lance Stephenson to Brooklyn, but this time the deal centers around the Nets dealing Joe Johnsonaccording to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

According to Wojnarowski, the 33-year-old Johnson would headline a multi-player deal that would likely result in Stephenson, Gerald Henderson and Marvin Williams being traded to the Nets. Johnson is owed $23.1 million the rest of this season and $24.9 million next year, the final year of his contract. NetsDaily.com confirmed the report of trade discussions involving Johnson and Stephenson.

Why this makes sense

This one's pretty straightforward, so let's start with Charlotte. Simply put: this season the Hornets have been a much better team when Stephenson's not on the court. He's got a net rating of -7.8, the ninth worst mark in the league among players playing more than 30 minutes per game, and the Hornets, who are 19-26 on the season, are 9-5 in games where he doesn't play.

The reasons for this are fairly obvious. Stephenson has been unable to shoot all year (39 percent from the field, a ridiculously bad 15 percent from behind the three-point line); has at times shown no interest in playing defense; and has also often been seen sulking on the court. For the Hornets, who have managed to climb back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture (they're currently in eight place) by winning eight of their last ten games, swapping Stephenson for a professional and proven player like Joe Johnson would be an immediate upgrade.

Johnson is averaging 15.5 points per game and shooting 43 percent from the field.

As for the Nets, this would be all all about getting younger and changing the atmosphere around the team. Over the past couple of years the Nets have proven that, as presently constructed, they're, at best, nothing more than a one-and-done playoff team. And this year they haven't even been at their best (they're currently 18-26 and have lost eight of their last ten). Bringing in Stephenson, Marvin Williams and Gerald Williams could provide some new life.

Also, given his age (24) and Brooklyn roots, there's a good chance Stephenson would become the new face of the Nets.

Why this doesn't make sense

As is always the case when dealing damaged goods, there are myriad reasons why this trade might not help either team. For the Hornets, there should be some concerns about the 33-year-old Johnson's health. He's been dealing with knee tendonitis recently and in January his numbers have dropped significantly (13.1 points per game on 36.2 percent; he's also hitting just 29 percent of his shots from behind the arc). At this point in his career, there's no guarantee that Johnson makes it through the season, and trading a 24-year-old for a 33-year-old is always a risky proposition.

On the side of the coin, the Nets have to be worried about whether Stephenson could deal with coming back home to Brooklyn, and how he'll fit into a locker room that has never been described as having the greatest atmosphere.

Likelihood (7/10)

The Nets and Hornets came close to a deal earlier this season before a three-way deal including the Oklahoma City Thunder fell through. Clearly, both teams are looking to make some deals and this one makes too much sense to be passed up. The Hornets get a proven veteran who makes them better right now; the Nets get younger and a jumpstart on the rebuilding process.