The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets are familiar trade partners. They made the mega deal that was supposed to shake up the Eastern Conference playoffs, but instead it played out as usual for the past four seasons.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were sent to the Nets, essentially for the next six years of the Nets’ franchise. Could the Nets and Celtics be trade partners once again, and have the Nets received some of that future back from the Celtics?
Rumors around the NBA are saying that Brook Lopez, the All-Star center, could be available this offseason. Lopez wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize if the Celtics lose out on Kevin Love. He’ll definitely be an upgrade over whatever the Celtics have at center now.
When healthy, Lopez is the most offensively-gifted center in the NBA. That’s the problem, though: health. He’s had chronic foot problems the last three seasons as a Net, and in the seasons in between, he sat out sporadically because of foot issues.
Lopez hasn’t put up great rebounding numbers, and for a guy that is 7-foot-1, you’d expect more than seven rebounds per game, especially playing 35-plus minutes. Now, the poor rebounding number could be due to playing with Reggie Evans, who is a rebounding machine and pads his rebounding stats while in the game, so it’s not a huge concern.
Lopez has the ability to average more than 20 points per game in the right system, and that’s the issue with him and the Nets. Jason Kidd doesn’t want to run a system conducive to the low-post, slow-tempo center. Kidd wants to play the way he did when he was manning the court for the Nets, and that’s wide open and getting in transition.
What would it take to get Lopez? Possibly any combination of the No. 17 pick and making the contracts work, unless the Celtics us the $10 million trade exception they have from the Pierce deal.
In Lopez’s last healthy year, he averaged 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game. So, he’ll also fit the rim protector role there in Boston, and they’ll have an established player that can do damage down on the block, instead of taking a risk on a player in the draft.
A trade like this could help both teams. It would put Mason Plumlee in a more prominent role because he fits better with what the Nets want to do. It’ll lower the Nets’ bill if they don’t have to take much money back with the trade exception.
The Celtics would get a low post scorer, a rim protector, and an established All-Star caliber player. Not to mention he would open up the three-point line and mid-range for secondary scorers like Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger. It’s a win-win for both teams