We’re still a while from the NBA’s trade deadline officially rearing its ugly head, but teams continue to talk deals.
Per ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, and Oklahoma City Thunder are discussing a three-way deal. The centerpieces being mentioned are the Hornets’ Lance Stephenson and the Nets’ Brook Lopez, but the deal would have all kinds of ramifications.
Stephenson, as I wrote about, has been a target of the Nets (among other teams) and hasn’t been the player the Hornets expected after signing an offseason deal. A move to Brooklyn would allow him to play in his hometown and hopefully get his career back on track. He hasn’t been terrible in Charlotte but has certainly regressed from the breakout year of sorts he had in Indiana last season.
A few days ago, I also took a look at Lopez and the Nets’ Big 3 that are reportedly on the block as well. This report of a potential move to Oklahoma City seems to confirm that.
The Thunder aren’t exactly desperate for a center with second-year pro Steven Adams manning the middle along with veteran Kendrick Perkins. Perkins, though, is aging and Adams’ inexperience isn’t ideal for a team trying to make a postseason run. The Thunder are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs right now, but sitting only a few games out. Lopez has battled some injury issues but there’s no doubt that a Lopez/Adams combo would be an upgrade of the current Adams/Perkins configuration. Lopez has been rebounding better lately, averaging eight boards per game this month, and as demonstrated by the 15 he had in the team’s loss against Detroit on Saturday, is still capable of big games.
This deal could work out for all parties involved. In exchange for a struggling Stephenson, the Hornets would land Jack, a quality reserve (and sometime starter) as well as Lamb the youngster with a good deal of upside. The Thunder are gambling a bit by dealing away Lamb, but to add Lopez in the middle to pair with Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant, that’s a move designed to help the team win now rather than later. The Nets seem to give up the most here with Lopez and Jack, but even though the return in Stephenson might not be enough, the real benefit would be to unload Lopez and his nearly $17 million for next year (with a player option). In addition, you’d have to see if any draft picks or other players are headed their way.
Stay tuned on this one.
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