Blog Entry

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Posted on: December 22, 2011 2:41 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 3:40 pm
 

By Matt Moore

The New Jersey Nets announced Thursday that center Brook Lopez has a broken foot and will undergo surgery. His listed recovery time is 4-6 weeks, but the injury is also similar to the one that sidelined Mavs' guard Roddy Beaubois for months and which SI.com says doctors have said can take up to 4 months to heal. 

So no, this is not good news.

But as bad as it is for Lopez, it also has huge ramifications for the Nets and their pursuit of Dwight Howard. Lopez was the centerpiece of any trade to Orlando, giving the Magic a young center to at least take the sting off losing the league's best big man. At 4-6 weeks, there's time for Lopez to recover and get back on the floor to show himself still worth the Magic's investment (I'm sure that's No.1 on his list of priorities). But that assumes his surgery goes perfectly, his recovery is without flaw, and that his return has no issues.

At that point, the Nets may be one of the worst teams in the league. Howard will be staring at going to a team he'd have to claw out of the cellar alongside Deron Williams with, after having had to likely give up even more assets to account for the instability of Lopez' situation. While Howard would be looking at the big picture with regards to playing in Brooklyn the next six seasons, these superstars want to win now, every year, and don't want to risk missing the playoffs even a single season. The Magic would be then trading for a seven-foot center with a foot injury, which hasn't gone well in the history of the NBA. That damages the Nets' leverage in the package they'd have to give up, which would mean Howard would be giving his commitment to a team with nearly nothing on roster outside of Deron Williams.

Which isn't wholly different from what Carmelo Anthony did. But the Knicks were at least in playoff position at the time of the trade. Without Lopez, we see more of Johan Petro. The Nets' frontcourt, even with productive big man Kris Humphries, is going to be a near-disaster. Deron Williams is one of the top five point guards in the league, but there are limits to what even he can do.

Lopez meanwhile is faced with the balance of wanting to compete and do his job, wanting to get back on the floor as quickly as possible, and leveraging that against his long-term health. Throw in how the Nets have treated him for the past year, both in terms of his relationship with Avery Johnson and in his inecessant involvement in trade rumors, and Lopez will be rushing back from a serious injury to help a team that is clearly not invested in his future. Maybe he pushes himself just to get out of the situation, but it's not an unpleasant one, and that's before you deal with the mental and physical damage from undergoing this kind of injury process.

The Nets still have a chance at pulling off the trade which would set them up long-term in the future. But after making a huge gamble in trading for Deron Williams last season and surrendering nearly half their talent base, the Lopez injury makes the odds even worse. There's really only two ways this works out. The Nets pull of a miracle trade for Dwight Howard because he simply wants to play in Brooklyn that much, or they lose everything.

Meanwhile, Andrew Bynum looked spectacular in preseason play Wednesday night.
Comments

Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: December 23, 2011 9:41 am
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

The Nets' 2011-2012 season is over.  They'll lose out on Howard and, subsequently, lose Deron Williams as well.  What a mess of a franchise.  I think they'll be dissolved (their owner is now more interested in Russian politics and will be bought out) and some other team will be moved to Brooklyn.  No one will miss them.




Stern will prolly do this and move his hornets into new brooklyn arena.  Combine the hornets roster with the Nets 2 guys that are actual NBA players and you'd have an OK team.



Since: Oct 30, 2010
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:29 pm
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Do you really think the Magic are going to let him walk for nothing???  They are not going to let themselves get Shaqed again!



Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

The potential for injury-lost time from a center is far greater in Bynum than Lopez. Bynum is happy Greg Oden is in the league (so to speak) because otherwise he would have the worst injury history of any center in the league. Over the last six years Bynum has started just 49% of the games. That gives real pause to a team thinking about trading for him. Pau is a good PF but has gone from great to good last year and shows signs of decline. Lopez is at least still improving. Not that I favor one team over another. For the good of the league I hope Orlando can keep him.

The real question as far as Howard is concerned is: will he sign an extension to be traded? That is his silver bullet. He can veto any trade he does not like. Nobody will want to rent him for three months. Not to give up significant assets to do so. The Nets become a strong lure for other free agents next summer with both Deron Williams and Dwight Howard on the roster and tons of salary cap space to compensate. The move to Brooklyn will be accompanied with great fanfare and instant notoriety for endorsement opportunities. Don't count out Mr. Mikhail Prokhorov. His entry into Russian politics is only in support of Putin (straw man) and he is passionate about the Nets becoming championship contenders.



Since: Oct 16, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Trading Bynum and Gasol for Howard is stupid. Yes Howard is better than either one of these guys but not better than the combined 14 ft the lakers throw out there. The Lakers would be better of trading Gasol and a 1st rounder for D Wiiliams (if he's going to leave NJ anways) Kris Humphries (forget about KK the guy is solid but not great).

D Williams taking pressure off Kobe is almost as good as CP3, a true PG will help Bynum, plus provide a good young core group to bring free agents after Kobe get's old in 2-3 years. If your a wing wouldn't you want to play with a true PG and have a true center backing you up on defense?



Since: Jun 24, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 8:18 pm
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

The Nets' 2011-2012 season is over.  They'll lose out on Howard and, subsequently, lose Deron Williams as well.  What a mess of a franchise.  I think they'll be dissolved (their owner is now more interested in Russian politics and will be bought out) and some other team will be moved to Brooklyn.  No one will miss them.



Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:55 pm
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Orlando needs to be careful not to get shut out. They need to get assets for Howard and Howard is NOT returning to Orlando. Actually if Lakers would give up Bynum and Gasol, that might be their best trade. Not sure why people are saying Lakers won't give up both big men- I think they will when push comes to shove and it is clear that is the only way they get Howard.
I think the Lakers would give up Bynum & Gasol for Howard, The Lakers has Josh McRoberts as Pf. So the Lakers would gain more then they will lose



Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:49 pm
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Its looking more and more like the Chicago Bulls should be the fav destination for Dwight.  That is, if he wants to win a NBA championship anytime soon.
I would love for the Bulls to trade for Howard, but I think it be a long shot



Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:04 pm
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Orlando needs to be careful not to get shut out. They need to get assets for Howard and Howard is NOT returning to Orlando. Actually if Lakers would give up Bynum and Gasol, that might be their best trade. Not sure why people are saying Lakers won't give up both big men- I think they will when push comes to shove and it is clear that is the only way they get Howard.



Since: Feb 10, 2008
Posted on: December 22, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

Don't think he comes to the Lakers either.  If that were so, he would have been there a long time ago.  Nets can gamble because it still has an "ace in the hole" with the fact that it can hold onto D12 until the end of the season and use its sign and trade abilties.  That way, Nets could get the best offer and still appease Howard by getting him max $.



Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: December 22, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Lopez' injury puts Dwight deal in more jeopardy

The way I see the Howard scenario playing out is this- He plays out the season with Orlando, then moves to Dallas as a free agent. He'll be joined there by Deron Williams who will no longer have a reason to stay with the Nets, and who is also a free agent. Together they play with Dirk Nowitski and win a championship or 2 before Dirk eventually retires.

The reason for this is that the Lakers would have to give up both Pau and Bynum to get Howard, and they won't do that. The Nets no longer have the trading pieces to get Howard, and have little else to draw Howard there and win. Dallas was his only other option of teams to join, as Orlando's going nowhere. And Dallas will have the cap space to make the big moves- besides which, Mark Cuban is known for taking care of the players who play for him.

The Clippers are an intriguing option, but I don't know that the cap space would be there or if Jordan will be appealing to the Magic. He's already over paid. 


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