Going into this season, the Nets hopes relied upon the “Brook-Lin” approach and any success would be on the backs of center Brook Lopez and point guard Jeremy Lin.
Lin, unfortunately, has been injured most of the season and leaving it Brooklyn’s Brook has not been enough for the Nets to compete.
Now sitting at 8-30 on the season after last night’s 104-95 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, who were playing without Anthony Davis, the Nets need to make a decision on their best and most marketable player. With the trade deadline coming next month, should general manager Sean Marks look to trade Lopez.
Now before you jump to some conclusions, the Nets have no skin in this game right now. Trading Lopez will bring back a haul, but it will not help them in draft position this season. Without Lopez, they are throwing in the towel, which will help the Celtics, who have the right to switch picks with the Nets.
It will be Boston who will get the possible No. 1 overall pick, with the Nets picking somewhat lower.
Lopez has a year and a half left the three-year, $60 million extension he signed before last season. So with an expiring contract next season, if he doesn’t go now, he will probably in the off-season, because when Brooklyn will be ready to start winning again will be long after Lopez’s best days.
But Lopez means more to the Nets than just a good center, he is their most marketable player, along with Lin, which will make it difficult to fill Barclays Center in the coming years.
I say, so what? The Nets need to rebuild and sooner they become competitive, the sooner they can fill Barclays Center based on the team and not try promotions and gimmicks.
Reportedly the Nets are seeking two first round picks for their veteran center, they need one this season and one next, where they don’t have one either.
It’s the only way for the Nets to get fully into this rebuilding process. And frankly, no matter who gets Lopez, will be getting a very good player. Last night, he scored 20 and did everything to get the team in the win column in 2017.
“We play a motion offense and Brook is pretty smart,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “We got him a fair amount of touches in the post and we outscored them in the paint by 10.”
It was the 9-42 from the outside that killed them. So with or without Lopez, the Nets would have lost this game.
So now it’s time to look and see if one team desperate for a center will give the Nets what they want. Doing it now will give the club a better focus going into the off-season knowing where they stand in the draft and ultimately help start to rebuild this franchise.