Saturday, December 21, 2013
With loss of Brook Lopez, let's talk trades
By Mike Mazzeo
The Brooklyn Nets may be standing pat for now, but there’s no doubt GM Billy King will explore trades to make his team better in light of the season-ending injury to center Brook Lopez.
Here are some moves he could make:
(Remember: This is all fun and purely speculative.)
1. Carlos Boozer for Paul Pierce: Grantland’s Zach Lowe tweeted this idea, and it’s a good one. It would be predicated on the idea that the Chicago Bulls, with point guard Derrick Rose out for the season, decide they want to rebuild and clear money off their books. Pierce is in the final year of his contract and makes $15.3 million. Boozer is owed $15.3 million this season and $16.8 million in 2014-15. Boozer, 32, is averaging 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game on 44.6 percent shooting. He played with Nets point Deron Williams in Utah, and the two had great chemistry.
Not sure how veteran Kevin Garnett would feel about his longtime teammate leaving, but this would certainly help the Nets up front. Garnett has a guaranteed $12 million next season, but in the event that he decided to retire at season’s end, the Nets would be able to play Boozer next to Lopez in 2014-15, assuming Lopez (foot) is able to recover and get healthy by then.
2. Pau Gasol for Lopez: ESPN Insider Bradford Doolittle suggests this one. It’s an interesting proposal, to be sure, but not sure if either team does it. Gasol has a $19.3 million contract expiring, so the Nets would have to be certain they could extend him a couple years. His Player Efficiency Rating has gone down in each of the last three seasons and he’s 33. Lopez, currently in the second year of a four-year, $60 million contract, has now had four serious foot injuries in the past three seasons, but he’s 25. Would the Lakers want to gamble on a second max-deal player with an injury history? Isn’t Kobe Bryant enough?
3. Zach Randolph/David Lee for Pierce: These two scenarios feel like long shots. Randolph and Lee both fit the profile: older power forwards with contracts that last beyond this season. Randolph’s next three years (including this one) break down like this: $16.5 million, $17.8 million, $16.5 million (player option). Lee: $13.9 million, $15 million, $15.5 million. The Memphis Grizzlies’ motivation would be clearing cap space to make future moves. But perhaps they can get better return in terms of young assets and picks for Randolph, 32, which the Nets don’t have in abundance. Lee, 30, is putting up really good numbers for the Golden State Warriors (17.8 PPG, 9.9 RPG), so this doesn’t seem likely -- especially since Pierce isn’t an up-tempo player. Plus, there’s no incentive in the form of real solid assets for the Warriors.