A potential trade between the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets and the Oklahoma City Thunder is on the table that would land Lance Stephenson in Brooklyn, Jeremy Lamb, Jarrett Jack and Grant Jerrett in Charlotte, and Brook Lopez in Oklahoma City.
The Nets would rid themselves of a player that seems to have his heart elsewhere or has no heart at all. For a man that size to average only six rebounds a game as a starting center is beyond mind-boggling at best. The last four years he was considered the best scoring center in the NBA, but even that has fallen off. Last season he missed the majority of the year with injuries, the team was force to play small ball, went on a tear the second half of the season and fought their way to the post-season. The Nets had no idea that could win without their All-Star until they were forced to do so.
The Hornets signed the hot free agent Stephenson in the off-season with hopes that he would be the missing link to a deeper playoff run, but they have regressed with Stephenson in the lineup. In 26 games this season he has averages of 10, five and seven, but he just doesn’t seem to fit in with this group.
There have been whispers about trades involving him for the past month or so but there has yet to be any moves.
The trade will work for the Nets as they will shed his large contract, but the roster will be where it was last season - small ball. If Deron Williams stays, he and Stephenson will share the back court, Joe Johnson can slide over to small forward, Kevin Garnett at the four and Mason Plumlee can take his rightful spot as the starting center. The defense improves, the offense improves, steady ball movement with three capable ball handlers out of the court. Williams, Stephenson and Johnson have the ability to create their own as well as hit the perimeter shot or get to the basket.
The only reason I see this trade working for the Hornets is they get rid of a player that does not fit their system like they hoped he would. In return they will receive Lamb, Jerrett and Jack, who are sure to come off the bench. Jack has played the starter role in absence of Williams and has played outstanding basketball during that time. With Charlotte he will be flushed back to a reserve role seeing limited minutes behind Kemba Walker. As for Lamb, he was once seen as a possible replacement for James Harden in Oklahoma City, but poor shot selection has landed him in the doghouse and on the trade block.
As for the Thunder this trade makes little to no sense at all for a team trying to make a move in the standings. With Lopez aboard that changes the dynamic of the team drastically. Lopez is a center, the same position that Steven Adams plays. With the arrival of Lopez, Adams would more than likely be moved to a reserve role. Adams already sees limited playing time, but he brings a dimension that Lopez has yet to master in the NBA - defense and rebounding.
Maybe the Thunder are pulling a page out of the Lakers playbook and chasing the big names regardless if they could help the team or not. The Thunder pride themselves with defense. Lopez is many things, but a defender and rebounder he is not. If Garnett or current coach, Lionel Hollins could not make him an elite defender, then all is lost in that department.
But maybe a change of scenery is what Lopez needs to get his career back to where it was before the doubt started to creep into his mental state.
If it does go down, the Nets will come out the winners in this deal as their roster will improve on three levels, offense, defense and cap wise while the Thunder will get a lazy, non-rebounding, no defense playing center who cannot run the floor if a gun was pointed to his head. As for the Hornets they will get a few reserve players, but for the most part they will look like last year’s team.
If I’m Brooklyn this is an easy decision to make.
If I’m Charlotte or Oklahoma City, I have to give this a second thought.
But this is a business and a player that does not fit might be worth the risk and that goes for all teams.
Pull the trigger Billy King.