Zach Lowe of Grantland takes a long look at the long Nets and wonders what direction the team will take as it approaches the deadline, with an 11-4 record since January 1, impressive wins over the Thunder, Heat, and Warriors. Their coach is coach of the month and they've put up some gaudy defensive stats.
Brooklyn is 10th in points allowed per possession since January 1, a massive jump for a team that ranked 29th up to that point, per NBA.com. They have forced turnovers on 18.6 percent of opponent possessions since January 1, tops in the league, and a number that would have led all defenses last season. About 12 percent of opponent possessions have ended via isolation plays, per Synergy Sports, a share that would easily be the league’s highest over the full season
All of which begs the question in Lowe's mind, should the new-look Nets go for broke ...or try to trade Brook Lopez, perhaps Paul Pierce, at the deadline to get some younger players more in line with Jason Kidd's philosophy ... remember he wanted a running team ... and some picks.
He even proposes a deal: "Wilson Chandler, J.J. Hickson, and Professor Andre Miller, PhD, in exchange for Pierce." Billy King doesn't seem interested in changing team chemistry again ... been there, done that ... but does admit the need for draft picks after he cleaned out the cupboard in the Boston, and to a lesser degree, the Atlanta deal.
"We are not shopping Brook Lopez,” King told Lowe. “Our goal is to get Brook as healthy as possible. But if deals present themselves, we’ve got to look at them. If we can get draft picks back at some point, that would help.”
it's hard to tell if King was talking in general about picking up picks or specifically for Lopez. In any event, the Nets could use a few. (Lowe suggests that the Nets need to avoid the repeater tax in 2015, but Nets officials say they're confident they can won't pay it.)
In talking to some sources of our own last week, we picked up some of the same sentiments, as we noted in our summary of trade assets Monday.
If the Nets continue to play at their current level, it's unlikely they will make any moves --or certainly any major moves-- at the deadline. There's no real interest in Reggie Evans. They don't want to deal either Brook Lopez or Deron Williams now, when injuries have diminished their trade value. Nor are they likely to deal the players who've developed most this season: Mason Plumlee, Mirza Teletovic or Shaun Livingston.
As we noted, "Of course, things could change."