The Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets are two teams very familiar to each other when it comes to trading their pieces. Last summer, the Nets and the C’s agreed on what was the blockbuster trade of the offseason, receiving Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in exchange for a bunch of role players and some draft picks. This year, the two teams might just get involved to a significant deal again. The Celtics are looking for ways to shake things up this summer and if they don’t manage to land Kevin Love, their next target might be Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez.
The Boston Celtics really need an upgrade at their center spot. In fact, they played the biggest chunk of the 2013 – 2014 season without a true center and they might just want to prevent the same thing happening during the 2014 – 2015 campaign. The acquisition of Lopez would kick start the Celtics’ rebuilding efforts.
Although the 7 – footer center appeared in just 17 games last season due to an injury, he is expected to be ready for the start of the training camps after the summer. With Lopez onboard, the Celtics would instantly upgrade their front line but also their scoring. Prior to his season – ending injury, Lopez was recording a great season. He led the Nets in scoring, averaging 20.7 points on a 56.3 percent shooting from the floor and he also grabbed six boards per game. In overall, Lopez is an All-Star caliber center who will have a great chance to return to such levels next season, assuming that he manages to stay healthy.
After their failure to make it to the top this season, the Brooklyn Nets know well that the clock is ticking, time is not on their side. Paul Pierce will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and it’s still unknown if Kevin Garnett will return to action or if he will retire. Even if KG returns for one more season, his contribution to the Nets’ championship run won’t be that much significant. So, what the Nets will have to consider is investing in their future.
While Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger are the first two pieces which come in mind when it comes to a potential trade for Brook Lopez, the Celtics could use their 17th overall pick in this trade. If somehow Danny Ainge finds the right pieces for the trade and the salaries are matched and the Nets agree on such a trade, the C’s will instantly see a significant upgrade in their chances for a much better course next season, in comparison to 2013 – 2014. A starting five that would feature Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, Sullinger and Brook Lopez seems capable of leading the Nets at least to the playoffs.
On the Nets’ side, a selection at the 17th pick of the upcoming, loaded 2014 NBA Draft could mean that the finding of significant talent, which will help the team move forward. At the same time, with no Brook Lopez onboard, the Nets would open the starting center position for Mason Plumlee. The 24–year old center showcased his potential during the last season. If he gets more playing time and gains confidence, he could emerge as a solid piece in the Nets’ rotation but also their plans for the future. On top of that, Jason Kidd doesn’t seem to be willing to adjust to a playing style which includes lots of low – post offense. On the contrary, he seems to like his team running and playing fast. The Nets were more effective and did record a much better course after Lopez’s season – ending injury rather than before it happened.
The big question for Brook Lopez now is if he can remain healthy. We all know that he is a great center and in fact, one of the best centers in the Eastern Conference. However, his injury history has affected his value and the Danny Ainge will most probably think twice before trading away his team’s 17th pick for an oft – injured center. The last thing the Boston Celtics need at the moment is a player with injury issues, a bad investment. In fact, this entire rebuilding process in Boston has been revolving around setting foundation for the future. The C’s would rather wait a year or two for their prospects to grow and start delivering results than to invest in a big man who could become more of a burden than a solid contributor. In short words, Lopez is great when healthy and he seems to be a great fit for the Boston Celtics. But his injuries should ring bells and warn Danny Ainge, if a deal for him is in his plans.
The certainty is that both the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets will need to perform some course – changing moves during the summer. Brooklyn had the highest payroll in the NBA and it was the only team with a total salary sum which exceeded the $100 million mark. Brook Lopez took a significant chunk of that, $14.7 million last season and he is in the books for two more seasons and a combined of $32 million. With that in mind, the Nets will have to play smart instead of just spending out heavy dollars on players who don’t deliver the expected. It was proven last season that money doesn’t make a team win championships. In fact, two out of the top four most expensive teams in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks didn’t even make the playoffs. So, that’s another good reason for Brooklyn to consider trading away Brook Lopez.
On the other hand, the C’s will have financial flexibility over the next couple of seasons and they will have several young and low – cost players joining the team through the drafts of the next two seasons. So they have the ability to absorb Lopez’s big contract but that doesn’t mean they will just do so.