The Brooklyn Nets have surged in 2014 thanks to new hybrid longball lineups and some changes to their pick-and-roll coverages. With these new changes, does that mean a change of scenery for Brook Lopez?
It's unlikely, but possible. Zach Lowe, lead NBA writer for ESPN's Grantland, spoke with Nets general manager Billy King about the roster, and though King said flatly that they're "not shopping Brook Lopez," he added that "if deals present themselves, we’ve got to look at them. If we can get draft picks back at some point, that would help."
The Nets have involved every first-round pick they have until 2018 in one trade or another. The 2014, 2016, and 2018 picks are gone outright, while the 2015 and 2017 picks are the worse of theirs and another team (Atlanta in 2015, Boston in 2017).
The Nets are 11-4 in the new year, outscoring opponents by 3.5 points per 100 possessions. Coach Jason Kidd was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in January.
We've looked at if the Nets are better without Brook Lopez on this site. Lowe says that "the Nets not winning because Lopez is gone," but also acknowledges that "they are playing a style he’d be hard to fit into."
Lowe also posits the idea of trading Paul Pierce's expiring contract, proposing that the Nets could send Pierce to Denver for Wilson Chandler, J.J. Hickson, and Andre Miller. He also considers the idea of using their disabled player exception, which we looked at at length here.
Kidd also spoke with Grantland about the team's new lineups, pick-and-roll coverages, and improved ability to pack the paint, as well as a surprising benefit to being a coach: "you don't need an alias" when traveling in hotels.
Zach Lowe, Grantland -- A Team Grows in Brooklyn