By Evan Kaplan
Would You Trade Brook Lopez
The Case for Trading Brook Lopez:
Brook Lopez is easily one of the best young centers in the NBA. The numbers he has put up in his first two seasons are very impressive and any team would love to have him on their roster. While the upside is there, the question the Nets organization has to ask is whether they think Lopez can single handedly win them an NBA title? In the past, the NBA was built on the big man and having a dominant center was a key to winning a championship. But it is now the age of the prolific wing player, and acquiring a guy like Carmelo Anthony could be worth getting rid of Lopez.
It’s hard to find a flaw in the numbers that Lopez has put up in his first two seasons but is he a guy who can lead the Nets deep in the Playoffs? The biggest factor in the case for trading Lopez is that it would certainly persuade the Nuggets to deal Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey (and soon Brooklyn). The Nuggets current starting center, Nene, is only signed through the 2010-11 season (with a player option for 2011-12) and Denver would be eager to make an upgrade to the more durable Lopez. The thing the Nets have to weigh in this case is whether Carmelo Anthony gives the franchise a better chance to win an NBA title than Brook Lopez. Most would say that he would, but what if you could pair the two together?
The Case Against Trading Brook Lopez:
Just look at these numbers and this case should be made for keeping the young center. In two seasons in the NBA, Brook Lopez has averaged 15.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He is only 22 years old and will continue to get better. He has NEVER missed a game in his two-year career, and has started all but 7. He is a legitimate center standing at 7-feet, 265 pounds and he is incredibly athletic for his size. Lopez runs the floor, can hit the 15-18 foot jumper consistently and also has a strong repertoire of post moves. His defense also continues to improve and he will be a critical deterrent in the paint.
Every recent NBA Champion has had a Superstar-caliber wing player, but each has also had a dependable, talented center. It has been proven in this era that you need both to win a title. The easiest way the Nets may be able to acquire Carmelo Anthony is to trade Brook Lopez, but that is not the best move for the franchise in the long run.
The Final Verdict:
Under no circumstances should Brook Lopez be traded. There are other young, talented players on the roster that can be dealt to acquire Carmelo. Even if you are getting one of the top 5 players in the NBA in return, you just do not trade a 22-year old center that is already a proven commodity. Having Lopez on the roster for the next 10 years would be a major factor in convincing Anthony to sign a long-term contract with the Nets. Carmelo is a great player but he knows he can’t win a title by himself. The Nets could replace Derrick Favors, Terrence Williams or even Devin Harris. But there is no replacing a young, burgeoning center that will anchor the post for the next decade.