Brook Lopez is the Brooklyn Nets most tradeable asset, and the New Orleans Pelicans have their eyes on him.
In a report from Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, the Pelicans are looking to structure a package with Tyreke Evans, Tim Frazier, Langston Galloway and a 2018 protected first-round pick in exchange for Lopez.
This may not be the best deal that Brooklyn could get offered, but it’s certainly one they should consider, especially once the protections of the pick get ironed out.
What’s iffy about this proposal is the lack of a big man, and the Nets would be stretched thin in the front court if they decided to part ways with their former All-Star. The new starting center would be Justin Hamilton, and Quincy Acy, Luis Scola, Trevor Booker and, hopefully, Chris McCullough would split up the remaining minutes.
Lopez is having the best offensive season of his career, and his new inside-out style of play would be a perfect complement to Anthony Davis. Through 49 games, Kenny Atkinson has limited Lopez’s minutes to avoid injuries, and he’s averaging 20.5 points on 46.9 percent shooting in just 29.4 minutes a night.
After this year, where he’s set to make $21.1 million, he’ll have one more year left on the deal he signed back in 2015, and that’ll push New Orleans back $22.6 million.
The Pelicans, 21-34, have been radically inconsistent all season long and have had few options outside of Davis and Jrue Holiday. Their offense is disjointed regularly, and their defense isn’t great at stopping anybody. Adding Lopez would bring on a viable second or third option for their offense, but there wouldn’t be any drastic improvements on the other end of the court.
Parting ways with Brook would set the Nets back, but, honestly, it can’t get much worse. They’re rebuilding. And everyone who’s new in the organization is inheriting a situation worse than what Samuel L. Jackson did in Coach Carter.
Tyreke Evans is the biggest name being shipped from Louisiana, but he’s not necessarily the best player. The biggest knock on the former Rookie of the Year is his health, and it comes with good reason. In four of Evans’ seven completed seasons, he’s appeared in less than 70 games, and he’s fresh off of two knee surgeries in the past two years.
However, there was a time when Evans had superstar potential. Based on his size (6-6) and how he plays, he’s a tweener who’s stuck between both guard spots.
Luckily, we’re in the era of positionless basketball, and Evans is a bona-fide playmaker.
For his career, he averages 16.3 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds but those are down this year because he’s getting trying to rebound from his injuries. There’s certainly potential with him, and Evans is one of four players ever to average 20 points, five rebounds and five assists a game as a rookie.
Frazier may not be as good a player as Evans, but he’s a true point guard who’s reliable. At the start of the year, when the Pels were without Jrue Holiday, Frazier stepped in as the starting point guard and played phenomenally — 11.3 points, 7.7 assists and just 2.7 turnovers a night.
He’s got a great basketball IQ and is above-average in the pick-and-roll with .87 points per possession, per NBA.com. Because of Jeremy Lin‘s injury, the Nets are sans anyone who can manipulate screens effectively, and their offense was at its best with that added dynamic.
Furthermore, it would give Brooklyn an astute decision-maker, and that’s invaluable to a team who struggles with turnovers late in games.
One thing to worry about is the talent that’s on the floor as Frazier’s outlets. Without Lopez, there’s no one reliable enough to act as their safety net.
Last up is Galloway, who would have one job with his new employer: shoot, shoot, shoot.
The Nets always have a light that’s been green for the entire season, and Galloway is an improved shooter who would get more than enough looks in Brooklyn. On the year, he converts on 37.2 percent of his triples, a clip that would be fourth-best on the Nets as of Monday.
It’s entirely plausible that New Orleans goes back on this offer if Jahlil Okafor falls into their lap. They’re the frontrunners to land the second-year center, but it wouldn’t make sense to stockpile so many frontcourt guys while trading away a few talented guards.