What If the Nets Traded Brook Lopez at the 2015 Trade Deadline?
February 15, 2015, the NBA Trade Deadline was looming and the Brooklyn Nets had reportedly said “yes” to a trade that would send Brook Lopez to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Reggie Jackson, Kendrick Perkins and Perry Jones III.
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Of course, the trade never went through, as the Oklahoma City Thunder would back out and trade Jackson to the Detroit Pistons instead. But say that the trade went through and the Nets had those three players instead of Brook Lopez, that’s where everything would begin to change for the Brooklyn Nets and their rebuild gets a little bit different.
Here is a hypothetical. The 3:00pm deadline hits. The Trade goes through. The Nets now have a young point guard and a logjam with Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack and of course the newly acquired Jackson. The Nets also made another trade that day and it was the straight up trade of Thaddeus Young for Kevin Garnett. The Brooklyn Nets new starting lineup begins to potentially look like this:
The Nets would be without the monster second half of the season performance by Lopez that powered the Nets to the playoffs, and would for the first time since the move to Brooklyn miss the playoffs in 2015 instead of 2016. The Nets would then begin to start the rebuild. Except, they wouldn’t make the first move of the rebuild anymore, trading for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
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The Nets traded for Hollis-Jefferson because they knew that Mason Plumlee was not going to win the battle for minutes with Lopez, and he and Plumlee failed to co-exist on the floor together. With Lopez no longer there, the Nets need a starting center and don’t trade Pat Connaughton and Mason Plumlee. The Nets would continue to go through with their plan to draft Chris McCullough.
In the midst of the offseason, the Nets would buy out Deron Williams like they originally did, freeing up cap space and possibilities. They would also resign their two free agents, except it wouldn’t have been Lopez and Young, it would’ve been Reggie Jackson and Thaddeus Young.
The Nets would continue to bring in the pieces they did such as the young Willie Reed, Shane Larkin and Donald Sloan as well as Wayne Ellington and some other names. Not much would change in the offseason.
The regular season, however, would actually change quite a bit, the Brooklyn Nets would never fall into a rebuilding mode. With a starting lineup of
PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Bojan Bogdanovic
SF: Joe Johnson
PF: Thaddeus Young
C: Mason Plumlee
The Nets would actually make the 2016 NBA playoffs. Reason being is the depth they would receive from the trade as well as not getting rid of Plumlee and Connaughton, which would’ve helped a lot. Having guys like Jack, Larkin, Sloan, Hollis-Jefferson, McCullough and possibly Kilpatrick all coming off the bench instead of starting would give them much needed depth.
That is a direct example of how one move can change a franchise forever, whether it be for better or worse. As a fan, it would be nice to have a team that is potentially winning ball games right now, but at the same time it feels good to know as a fan that the future of the Nets can certainly be bright.
Should the Nets deal Lopez at the deadline this year, nearly two years after a potential Reggie Jackson trade? That’s hard to say. But whatever the Nets do, they should think things through carefully and diligently.