Of all the players the Brooklyn Nets are trying trade, Brook Lopez is probably the only one with a big contract that’s getting some interest, with the Miami Heat trying to work out how they can acquire him.
As Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park (Doctor Ian Malcolm) famously said your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should, the same goes for the Miami Heat. They’re in talks with the Nets over what they’ll be sending for Lopez, but is he really worth it? Can he really fit in with a team that doesn’t have a traditional post scorer and their offense isn’t exactly built for one?
Lopez, unlike Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, isn’t perceived as someone who is pretty much done in this league and his contract is something worth looking it. A $15.7 million cap hit this season, a player option worth $16.7 million for 2015-2016. While it makes sense in a way for a center who can give teams points and great post presence this kind of money, the Heat aren’t exactly in a position to make this kind of move.
They have players they can trade – for example sending Luol Deng and the injured Josh McRoberts, but that doesn’t solve the Nets’ problem of fixing their cap situation. They’re at $94 million this season and will still be paying $78 million next year as Kevin Garnett and Mirza Teletovic become free agents.
Lopez isn’t having the best of seasons, averaging 14.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He’s playing less minutes, but his per minute numbers have dropped as well. For an injury prone guy, it makes sense to gamble on him only if it’s a piece that puts you in contention for a title. The Heat probably won’t be that much better with him, even if they don’t give up key players and find a third party to funnel the trade through.
The Nets are on their way to tank town if they’d be just able to get rid of the huge contracts they have on board. There’s also the issue of their owner trying to sell the team after loading it with impossible contracts. The Miami Heat are navigating through too many injuries in a reasonable way – below .500 but good enough to be in the top 8. Pat Riley has always been about more. He isn’t paying Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade so much money in order to settle for 7th or 8th seeds. He’ll be aggressively looking to make a move, with Lopez or for someone else.