Brook Lopez could’ve said “Thunder Up.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, and Cleveland Cavaliers completed a three-team trade last night, sending (among other pieces) Dion Waiters to the Thunder, J.R. Smith & Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers, and a draft pick to the Knicks. But prior to that deal, the Nets & Thunder had discussed sending Lopez to Oklahoma City, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk:
Was told Nets + OKC recently talked involving Lopez, K. Perkins (expiring deal), P. Jones, L. Thomas but stood pat liking how they've played
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) January 6, 2015
For the record, the Nets & Thunder could still make this trade; of the assets mentioned in the proposed deal, only Lance Thomas, a minor piece, was involved. We also discussed an insane, four-team, 16-player deal that is now impossible due to Rajon Rondo joining the Mavericks, but it similarly involved Lopez, Kendrick Perkins, and Perry Jones III.
The deal would save the Nets cap space going forward and give them a good prospect in Jones III, a lanky forward who’s played well in limited time in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately for the Nets, Thomas, a Brooklyn native, was traded to the Knicks in the deal. He is expected to be waived.
Oklahoma City is one of the few places Lopez makes some sense: the Thunder already rely on Serge Ibaka for most of their interior defense duties, and the Thunder lack a post scorer. Lopez recently improved following a slow return from a lower back strain, scoring 22 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in their 96-88 overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night. He has a player option for the 2015-16 season worth $16.7 million.