NBA / Dec 23, 2011 / 12:00 pm

Brook Lopez’s Injury Destroys The Future Of The New Jersey Nets

Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez, Dime #43

Thursday started as a good day for the New Jersey Nets. They began the day by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson. Stevenson won a championship with the Mavericks last season and will immediately provide a winning pedigree, toughness and perimeter defense to a team lacking in all three areas. However, the way the day ended overshadowed the shrewd morning signing of Stevenson. Yesterday evening it was announced that starting center Brook Lopez had a stress fracture in his foot and would be out for six to eight weeks with the injury. This injury is one that could change the course and future of the franchise and hurts the Nets on multiple levels.

The first way in which Lopez’s injury hurts the Nets is obvious: his injury puts their pursuit of Dwight Howard on hold for the immediate future. Lopez was the centerpiece of any Nets proposal for Howard, a top young center with the potential to be the Magic’s long-term replacement for Howard. While Brook is clearly no Dwight, his offensive ability, including range out to 18 feet and a great touch around the rim, makes him one of the top centers in the game (at least offensively). The rest of the Nets’ package was to be centered on a bundle of first-round picks that would ensure the Magic have ample opportunity to rebuild. Without Lopez healthy, there is no deal to be had.

[Related: Dime's 2011-12 NBA Preview - The Atlantic Division]

Orlando won’t make a trade where Lopez can’t contribute to the team right away because, despite some of Dwight’s insinuations, the Magic do have talent on their roster and could contend for a lower playoff seed with Lopez as their center. The Nets don’t have another young player who is proven at the NBA level that the Magic would find appealing in place of Lopez, and without a proven commodity, the deal is off. With the Nets essentially being unable to trade for Howard now, it gives other teams an opportunity to jump into the Howard sweepstakes and overtake the Nets as the frontrunner for Howard’s services. All the Nets can do now on this front is hope Lopez heals fully, plays out of his mind when he gets back in February, and the Magic still find their offer most appealing.

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  • dmitry of jersey

    relax yourself a bit. what you’re describing is the 100% worst case scenario. even if all that stuff happens and deron leaves, another superstar WILL take Proky’s money to headline a new arena in brooklyn.

    and that’s the worst case scenario.. if brook manages to come back mid season, we will still have a decent chance of sneaking into the playoffs with brook-okur-hump and the nets’ somewhat underrated collections of supporting players

  • http://www.livingcheapla.com hakasan

    Are there any players with long term contracts on the Nets? Even if DWill walks, it seems like they will have a new stadium and a whole lot of money to spend in a couple of years…

  • Sam

    Howard wants to star in Brooklyn.

    He was here over the summer checking out the new arena, unofficially. He was in Russia with Kirilenko and the Nets dancers doing an event for NBA 5 United, which I’m sure the owner Prokhorov has his claws in.

    He and Williams are apparently good friends.

    Howard will be a Net sooner or later. They might even get him for a bunch of expiring contracts and 1st round picks if Howard tells every single other team that he will not re-sign.

  • Sam

    By sooner or later I mean the trade deadline (after the all star game) or free agency in July.

  • http://brokejumper.com/ Brokejumper

    Is Lopez doing the doughie in that pic? There’s awkward, awkweird then there’s that.