The Brooklyn Nets have been immersed in NBA trade rumors in recent weeks as the team is in the early stages of a rebuilding phase. Center Brook Lopez is their most marketable player, and he has been at the forefront of many of the trade scenarios that are being discussed online. According to NESN, the Nets have told prospective trade partners that they want two first-round draft picks in exchange for Brook Lopez. The Boston Celtics have been mentioned by several media outlets as prime candidates to acquire the seven-footer out of Stanford University.
Sportsrageous reports that the Celtics and Nets may be talking about a deal that would involve Lopez, power forward Amir Johnson and small forward Jaylen Brown. There is related internet chatter that indicates that part of these negotiations may involve the possible return of the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick that is currently the property of the Celtics. This hypothetical transaction follows all NBA trade rules (confirmed via the ESPN NBA Trade Machine), so the option is there if Brooklyn and Boston decide to pull the trigger on this swap.
If this deal were to go through, the Boston Celtics would immediately become a better team. Brook Lopez would start at center, and that would allow Al Horford to play his more natural position of power forward. Jaylen Brown has a lot of talent, but he is still in the early stages of his development as an NBA player. Whether Brown is dealt or not, Jae Crowder will play the bulk of the minutes at small forward for the time being.
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The hesitation here for the Celtics would be the Nets’ rumored request to return their first-round draft pick in 2018. That pick is likely to be near the top of the draft, and could eventually yield a star player for the team who makes the selection. Boston is looking to win now, so it would seem logical that they would consider sending this pick back to Brooklyn. The Nets can afford to wait several years for a player to blossom who will be a rookie in 2018; the Celtics do not have that luxury since they are making a push to become a championship contender this season.
From the Brooklyn Nets’ point of view, getting back their 2018 first-round pick would be of great value to the franchise. Amir Johnson would be a significant part of the Nets’ rotation, but perhaps more importantly, his contract expires at the end of the 2016-17 season. Brooklyn could use the rest of this season as an audition for Johnson, and either try to re-sign him, or use the cap space his expiring contract would create to make other moves. Jaylen Brown is thought by some to have All-Star potential (he was the third overall choice in last year’s NBA Draft), so he could be an intriguing piece for the Nets as they look toward the future.
This example from the latest group of NBA trade rumors is a compelling one. The Celtics are trying to make a move in the Eastern Conference now, and this rumored proposal would help them do that. The Nets are rebuilding their team and looking several years into the future, and this deal would be a good fit with that plan. The benefit is there for Boston and Brooklyn, and this theoretical transaction passes the litmus test in terms of NBA trade and salary cap guidelines. Keep an eye on these teams as we get closer to the February trade deadline because the feasibility of this rumored trade scenario is higher than most.
[Featured Image by Rich Schultz/AP Images]