Johnson: Nets eyeing first-round pick

The Nets don’t have a first-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft. But it sounds like they want one.

“We are preparing like we are still going to be in the first round,” coach Avery Johnson told ESPN.com’s Andy Katz at the Chicago pre-draft combine. “We have an unlimited amount of resources within the rules, so you never know. We probably could get into the first round, end of the first round.

“So we’re here evaluating all of these kids, we’re going through the interview process just like all of the other teams. So even though we’re at 57 now, my general manager is Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov is the owner so you never know what they may pull off. So we’re anticipating that we could move up.”

King has been aggressive in his draft-day maneuvering in the past. Don’t expect that to change this time around. The Nets could obviously look to buy or trade their way into the first round.

The Nets currently have just the No. 57 pick, which will come in the second round -- and they have just four players under contract for next season, leaving plenty of work to be done.

Re-signing Deron Williams remains King’s top priority, but he still has to fill out the rest of the roster and convince his free-agent-to-be superstar point guard that he can win a championship in Brooklyn.