Just when you think the Brook Lopez rumor mill has ground down to a slow, agreeable halt, here comes another stance pulling us in a different direction.
From the Sporting News’ Sean Deveney:
The Nets have been willing to trade Lopez all season, but interest has been limited so far. His numbers are typical of his career (20.3 points, 5.3 rebounds), and Lopez has added a 3-point game in order to keep up with the times (he is shooting 36.5 percent from the arc).
Depending how you look at it, this report runs contrary to or fully supports what Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders tweeted out:
That is why you are not hearing a lot about Lopez being traded. They won;t get enough value for it to make sense https://t.co/1XGRl9RID0
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) December 30, 2016
Lopez is inherently hard to move, even though he has achieved a certain unicorn status by racking up made three-pointers and blocks. His salary-cap hit is $21.3 million this season, which can be tough to match. He’s owed a little more than $22.6 million next year, after which he’ll become an unrestricted free agent, at the age of 30, and be due for a lucrative raise.
The values of big men across the league are also kind of weird. Lopez’s offensive range and shot-blocking, again, help his case, but franchises aren’t building around centers who cannot defend multiple positions.
And then there’s the simple fact that Lopez has become more valuable to the Brooklyn Nets as a player and leader, more so than anyone initially expected this year. That, on some level, makes him easier to move, but also much harder to find adequate compensation amid his departure.