Trade rumors have once again started surrounding Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets after he struggled during the absence of Jeremy Lin in the game against the Charlotte Hornets. According to reports, one of the teams that would most likely benefit from trading for Lopez are the New Orleans Pelicans.
At Game 6 of the regular NBA season, the Nets took on the Hornets without Lin, who suffered a strained hamstring during the game against the Detroit Pistons. As a result, Lopez was forced to take on the load alone.
Without Lin, Lopez found himself getting double-teamed on various plays which prevented him from becoming that night's lead scorer. This strategy by the Hornets allowed them to secure a win over the Nets.
Kenny Atkins, the coach of the Nets, admitted that Charlotte may have taken Lin's absence as an opportunity to smother Lopez.
"Charlotte probably had a talk at halftime and said we can't let this guy get so many touches and so many shots in the post," Atkinson noted. "They started fronting him in the post, and quite honestly, we're going to have to work on doing a better job of getting him some counters to that."
Although the Nets' loss wasn't entirely Lopez's fault, double-teams in the NBA happen all the time. Ideally, a team wants their players to overcome these tactics and still maintain their composure throughout the game.
Since Lopez failed in accomplishing this, rumors suggest that the Nets may consider shopping him around before the trade deadline in February. Given Lopez's skills, the Brooklyn front office probably would not have a hard time finding a trade partner for the athlete.
Although there will be several teams that will be asking for Lopez once he's available for a trade, probably the one that will need him the most are the Pelicans.
Currently, Anthony Davis is the New Orleans organization's only go-two guy. Although he is still able to perform effectively on the court, things would certainly be a lot easier for him and the team if they have another player who can still boost the offense no matter who he is playing against.
For the Pelicans, this player can easily be Lopez. However, given the current lack of talent in the team, the Pelicans will probably have to resort offering a couple of players such as Tyreke Evans and Alexis Ajinca. Both are low-cost players that would not hurt the Nets' salary cap. But aside from these two, the Pelicans could also throw in a 2017 draft pick to even out the trade deal.