Just What Could The Nets Get For Brook Lopez? Part II

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Just What Could The Nets Get For Brook Lopez? Part II

[If you missed our first entry in this series — and the trades with the Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, and Phoenix Suns — you can check that out over here.]

… Considering his current contract — at $20 million a year — runs out at the end of next season, one of the final windows left to move the Nets’ tallest ComicCon devotee is between December 15th, when most of the contracts players signed this previous offseason are able to be traded, and the February deadline.

First off, with seemingly so many big men available around the league (hey there, Greg Monroe!) what sets Lopez apart? Secondly, what sort of deal would feasibly be out there?

Before this year, the answer to the first query would have been, ‘He’s a pretty good offensive center, I guess?’ This year, however, has seen Lopez rain triples down like a maniac — lest to be forgotten by the ever-evolving NBA landscape. Before this year, Lopez had taken 31 three-point shots in his entire career — just 24 games into the 2016-2017 season, he’s taken 127. Thus far, he’s attempting over five per game and hitting them at 35% clip, which puts him in the conversation with Damian Lillard, Carmelo Anthony, and Jimmy Butler.

Defensively, Lopez puts up decent block numbers (1.7 per game, same as the Zinger) and serves as at least some sort of rim deterrent, but you’re not writing home about his prowess. He’s always a little late on shot challenges, and while he’s made improvements at following smaller players on the wing after defensive switches, dude gets burnt at times. So if you trade for Brook Lopez, you’re getting an offensively talented, defensively limited 28 year-old center.

As for the second question — ‘what feasible deals would be out there’ question — well, that’s the fun part.

We know what the other team would be getting, and it’s clear that in return for any Lopez deal, the Nets would need assets (at least one draft pick and young player) with a serviceable pivot replacement (sorry, Justin) in there too.  

So with that criteria set, let’s take a look at three more potential moves for the Nets’ franchise center.


MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Nets trade: Brook Lopez, Bojan Bogdanovic
Bucks trade: Greg Monroe, Malcolm Brogdon, Tony Snell + MIL’s 2017 first round pick

Why would Milwaukee do it?

The Bucks are in a weird no-man’s land; they’ve clearly got a superstar in the making with Giannis Antetokounmpo, a scoring sidekick in Jabari Parker, and length at every position… but the Greg Monroe signing hasn’t worked out at all. And they still find themselves within spitting distance from the top of the East… so getting more production out of the 5 spot and adding much-needed shooting in Bogdanovic, all for the price of a big who was likely leaving anyway and next year’s first rounder (likely around the 20 mark)? Roll the dice, Jason Kidd! Does it make them championship contenders? Maybe not, but a scoring big man who can give Giannis and Jabari space to operate and shoot from both inside and out pushes them even further into that secondary Eastern Conference upper-tier currently held by the Raptors, Celtics and Bulls.

Why would Brooklyn do it?

The sweet, sweet taste of that 2017 draft pick, of course. In the short term Monroe replaces Lopez, and if he exercises his player option at the end of this year, the Nets can look to sign him to what they’d deem a reasonable contract or let him walk. Meanwhile, Brooklyn would likely look at moving Snell on elsewhere, while Brogdon adds to their wing rotation and replaces Bogdanovic with more 3+D specialization. 

Likelihood out of 10?

4.5 – this is lower if Prokhorov and co. have a problem dealing with Jason Kidd, but still, it’s just feasible and reasonable enough you can feasibly see Milwaukee doing it. And this feels like a pretty fair return for Brooklyn right?


ORLANDO MAGIC

Nets trade: Brook Lopez & Bojan Bogdanovic
Magic trade: Nikola Vucevic, Jeff Green, Mario Hezonja + 2018 1st round pick

Why would Orlando do it?

You want to talk about messes: how about Orlando? Yeesh. Orlando’s treading water now, so shipping off Vucevic and Green opens the doors for them to play more Aaron Gordon at the four. Additionally, they get the opportunity to build a great three-man rotation in the front court with Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo —  with Lopez’s three-point range, he makes much more sense than Vucevic.

Elsewhere, Hezonja isn’t playing at the moment and, at this point, he’s basically a younger, better-haired, currently-NBA-unplayable version of Bogdanovic, who would give the Magic a scoring punch off their bench behind Evan Fournier that isn’t named (ergh) Jodie Meeks or (double ergh) CJ Watson.  

Why would Brooklyn do it?

Two words: Super Mario (well, that and the 2018 pick) The guy is buried in head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation and Sean Marks’ blueprint is to find and develop young, under-appreciated assets. Hezonja has shown flashes, but is yet to put together his game in any sort of consistent fashion; seeing if he could develop alongside Hollis-Jefferson and LeVert into a workable two-guard is a gamble, but a smart one. Vucevic fills a part of the scoring void left by Lopez, Green (if the Nets don’t move him quickly) becomes an ideal three or four next to Booker.

If nothing else, it give Green the opportunity to continue his life’s work of playing for every team in the NBA.      

Likelihood out of 10?

6/10 — I mean, Orlando have to do something, right?


WASHINGTON WIZARDS & DETROIT PISTONS

Nets trade: Brook Lopez
Wizards trade: Marcin Gortat, Kelly Oubre Jr., Markieff Morris, Jason Smith, and 2018 First Rounder
Pistons trade: Jon Leuer, Beno Udrih

(Marcin Gortat, Kelly Oubre Jr + WASH 2018 1st rounder to Brooklyn.)

Why would Washington do it?

So, Washington are a mess. That much was obvious when they got down by 16 points to the Nets before eeeking out a win a wannabe-playoff contender shouldn’t have to work so hard for. Their starters look like a great fit on paper, but there’s just something off, and their bench is a hazmat zone. Lopez and Leuer give John Wall and Bradley Beal room to operate as a shooting big-man threat, with both also being able to play alongside Ian Mahinmi. Plus, picking up Udrih gives them an actual backup point guard, instead of whatever the hell Trey Burke is.

Why would Brooklyn do it?

For a look at Oubre and that pick. Ideally, the Nets would ask for Otto Porter Jr., but the former no. 3 overall pick has been playing well enough this year to justify his lofty draft position, and the Wizards wouldn’t likely part with a piece that so seamlessly fits with their two big-money items in Wall and Beal. Meanwhile, Gortat helps fill the Nets’ would-be Lopez-sized hole at a super-affordable price ($12 million per for the next three years), and the 2018 1st rounder is the (key) cream on the deal.

Why would Detroit do it?

We get the Morrii twins back together! With their powers combined, no front court in the league will be as fun, get fan-decided tattoos, or get into hoverboard-related incidents.

Likelihood out of 10?

4/10 — While a deal where the Morrii are reunited is something we can all get behind, and the overall picture kind of makes a bit of sense, there’s too many moving parts for this to happen. 

What type of deal would you look for? Or, would you like to hold onto Lopez? Let us know!