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Landscape in East Shifts with Hawks, Nets Trades

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So remember when the addition of Steve Nash was going to leap the Raptors into contention? Assuming the team gets Nash of course.

Well just one second.

First the Washington Wizards deal for some immediate help that may have them banging on the door for eighth in the East (especially if the Beal/Wall backcourt works out the way some think it will.)

Then today, the Atlanta tsunami hit as in the past few hours the Hawks unloaded the Tyrannosaurus Rex-sized contract of Joe Johnson on the New Jersey Nets, and also swapped maligned swingman Marvin Williams for point guard Devin Harris of the Utah Jazz.

In one fell swoop, new Hawks GM Danny Ferry has said "out with the old, in with the new," clearing the books for a potential run at Dwight Howard down the line and hey, maybe even Georgia Tech Wake Forest alum Chris Paul.

The Nets take on a ton of salary obviously, but with a potential starting five of Brook Lopez, Kris Humphries (free agent), Gerald Wallace, Johnson and Deron Williams, we're talking about another club that looks primed to break into the East's top eight.

And Atlanta? With Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Harris, and Al Horford, they're no slouch either, and now possess the potential loot to go after a few more additional pieces.

It's enough to make one wonder if the Raptors task of making the playoffs, even with Captain Canada, has just gotten a lot tougher.