The Brooklyn Nets should trade Brook Lopez sooner rather than later

Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets

Brook Lopez has been a member of the Brooklyn Nets organization for the duration of his eight-year career. Not only is he the unquestioned leader of the franchise, but he has put up impressive career averages of 18.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.

The Nets are currently in a free fall towards the bottom of the NBA standings. At 8-27, the talent simply isn’t there and their future is in question after a number of high-profile deals cost them draft picks and didn’t pan out.

On a team with very few other assets, the Nets have held on to Lopez and his lucrative contract over the past couple of seasons, even though they haven’t come close to contending.

Now with their current state, they might have no choice but to trade away the face of their franchise and start over entirely.

And it'd make the most sense to do just that.

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets

Money

Before last season, Lopez signed a three-year, $63,497,025 extension with the Nets. He’s making just over $21.1 million this year and is due to make just over $22.6 million next season. The Nets are years away from playing competitive basketball and the thought of paying him that much money for essentially no reason doesn’t make much sense.

Further, due to the inflated free agent deals under the new CBA, he will be very expensive to retain if the plan is to keep him around after next season.

Draft Picks

Not only will the Nets be forced to swap their 2017 first round pick with the Boston Celtics, but they also don’t hold a 2018 first-round selection based on past trades.

Denver Nuggets v Brooklyn Nets

Trading away Lopez for a future first-round pick or two to a contending team makes a whole lot of sense, as the team needs to be infused with young talent in order to eventually contend with the best teams in the league.

Starting fresh is pretty difficult with no major draft picks coming up, and Lopez is simply the best asset that Brooklyn can offer and is perhaps the only attractive upper-echelon player on the roster that other teams might be interested in.

Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets

Lots of Interest

A bidding war is not out of the question if the Nets decide to put Lopez on the trade block.

While he’s not a prolific rebounder and has transformed his game to include more finesse and outside shooting, he’d still be incredibly attractive to a number of potential contenders.

Plus, he still has quite a bit of bounce, as evidenced by this thunderous posterizing dunk on Myles Turner a couple of days ago.

As you can see, his ability to get to the rack is still there and he can finish with authority.

The Toronto Raptors have struggled to find production from the power forward spot all season and are currently in second place in the Eastern Conference. Adding a guy like Lopez would allow them to better compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are expected to reach the NBA Finals yet again.

The Charlotte Hornets are one piece away from contending in the East and have missed out on consistent production from their frontcourt this year.

Charlotte Hornets v Brooklyn Nets

In the West, the Trail Blazers are barely holding on to the eighth spot right now and their frontcourt is a jumbled mess. Adding Lopez to make a “big three” with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum would be very interesting and would make them dangerous in the second half and heading into the playoffs.

Additionally, a team like the Utah Jazz could benefit from Lopez’s offensive ability and they have the draft picks, ability to match with Lopez’s hefty cap hit, and young talent to make an offer for the big man.

Each one of these teams would greatly benefit for Lopez’s presence and have the assets (both draft picks and personnel) to make substantial offers to the Nets. A number of other teams would also probably love to get their hands on him.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets

Injury Risk

The worst-case scenario for the Nets would be Lopez getting severely injured, which would likely prevent him from being traded.

His history of suffering serious injuries is well-documented, also.

In fact, he hasn’t played in all 82 games since the 2010-2011 season and has missed a total of 169 games over the past five seasons. In 2011-2012, he suited up for just five games while in 2013-2014, he played in just 17.

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets

Since he’s healthy now, there’s a window of opportunity for the Nets to deal him. Every day that they don’t, there’s a risk that he will get hurt again.

Regime Change

While Lopez has been the face of the franchise for years, it’s time for new, young talent to take over and invigorate a very stale franchise at the moment.

Since the 2017 draft class is projected to be very strong, Brooklyn is currently on the outside looking in. Dealing Lopez would allow them to get younger and build for the future.

Los Angeles Clippers v Brooklyn Nets

No NBA franchise wants to admit that their team is in disarray. However, it seems like the Nets are in need of a complete overhaul.

Setting Lopez free for the largest return seems like a good start.

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