The Brooklyn Nets are resisting a deal for star center Brook Lopez. They need to stop delaying the inevitable and trade him.
The Brooklyn Nets tried to win with Brook Lopez. They really did. It just didn’t work with Deron Williams. Or Joe Johnson. Or Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Now it’s too late. It’s time stop delaying the inevitable and trade Brook Lopez.
Lopez’s unfailing loyalty despite nine different head coaches and one playoff series victory in nine seasons is commendable. It explains why Brooklyn is so reluctant to part ways with him. But despite personal attachments to their longtime star, the Nets must finally make the hard choice and deal him.
There are only 14 active NBA players who’ve spent their entire career with one franchise. Lopez is one of them. Of course, it will be hard to see him go. But the hard truth is that he isn’t a guy that you build a winner around. Not when the NBA is trending rapidly in a direction away from which he’s comfortable.
The games are faster and geared more towards the perimeter. While other bigs are facing up and moving back toward the 3-point line, Lopez prefers to play with his back to the basket.
According to NBA.com, he ranked sixth in the league last season with 460 touches in the post. The top five in order were Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat, Hassan Whiteside, and Robin Lopez.
One thing all five of those centers had in common last season was they weren’t a No. 1 option offensively. The same can’t be said about Brook Lopez. In fact, the offense has been running through Lopez for some time now, and it’s yielded little success beyond his impressive individual accolades.
That’s not a knock on Lopez it just speaks to the fact that he isn’t a player you build around. On a championship team, he’s more likely a second or even a third option.
Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks has barely scratched the surface of the enormous rebuilding project he’s undertaken. The Nets don’t own their own draft pick until 2019, so Marks will need to improve the team via free agency, and trades and Lopez is their best asset.
The 7-footer has a history of foot problems which will undoubtedly factor into the decision of any potential trade partner, so it’s important that the Nets move while his stock is high.
Lopez played all 82 games the first three seasons of his career and then broke his foot in the preseason of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign. But the two past two seasons he’s been healthy and played in 70-plus games.
When Lopez re-signed in July 2012, he told reporters he wanted to be with the team for his entire career. It’s a nice thought. It’s a pledge that every franchise would love to get from their best player.
But Brook Lopez shouldn’t be any team’s best player. Not if you’re trying to win a championship and the Nets overhauled their front office and coaching staff because they want to win. The rebuild has already begun with high expectations for rookie guards LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead.
The Nets tried with Brook Lopez and failed. The sooner they admit that, the better.