Update (12:50 PM CST): Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Nets are "standing pat at this time" after being unable to find a satisfactory trade for Lopez.
Brooklyn is "standing pat at this time," on a Lopez deal, Nets source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 16, 2015
Nets source: "There was nothing we liked."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 16, 2015
This would seem to include any offers from other teams, such as the Houston Rockets who were reportedly sniffing around. With the trade deadline a little over a month away, the Thunder may be able to revive talks later on or pursue another avenue.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are in talks with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire one-time All-Star center Brook Lopez, per multiple reports. Rumored to be going to the Nets are the expiring $9.4 million contract of Kendrick Perkins and 22-year-old Jeremy Lamb – a combination of cap relief and youth for a Nets team desperate for either. More players would have to be included for the salaries to match up and Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski reports little-used Grant Jerrett may be on the move to Brooklyn as well.
The trade was originally reported by ESPN's Chris Broussard as a three-team deal with the Charlotte Hornets originally lined up to take Lamb and Nets guard Jarrett Jack, sending guard Lance Stephenson to his hometown Nets after a rocky start to the three-year, $27 million contract he signed with the Hornets this offseason.
Sources: Nets,Hornets,OKC talking 3-way trade. Brook Lopez 2 OKC, Lance Stephenson 2 BKN, Jeremy Lamb/Jarrett Jack 2 Charlotte.Talks ongoing— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) January 16, 2015
The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell reported the end of the three-team trade talks this morning, and Broussard reported that the Thunder and the Nets were continuing on their own with the Nets pursuing a salary dump.
Lopez is making $15.7 million this year, with a player option for $16.7 million next season. Injuries limited him to just 17 games last season and he's missed 10 games for the Nets already this season. The former All-Star talent has averaged 14.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks this season in 26.3 minutes per game. The Nets have been known to be trying to move the contracts of Lopez, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams. Their win-now aspirations have fallen apart long ago, and the team is looking to piece together some flexibility moving forward.
The idea for the Thunder is that they can buy low on one of the better offensive centers in the game, sending out only Perkins' expiring contract and a former lottery pick in Lamb who has failed to consistently perform at any point through his two-and-a-half-season career. The Nets, desperate for youth, may still be able to make a NBA player out of Lamb who has averaged 8.2 points on 40.9% shooting in 28 games this season.
The Thunder, however, are much more concerned on winning now. With 44 games left in the season, the Thunder still sit three and a half games back of the playoffs and 11th in the Western Conference. The eighth-seeded Phoenix Suns made an upgrade of their own recently, adding big man Brandan Wright from the Boston Celtics to fuel the arms race.
Acquiring Lopez would follow the trade for Dion Waiters from two weeks ago in being an uncharacteristic midseason trade for the Thunder, and this would be an even more sweeping change for a team that has never had a low-post scorer as capable as Lopez.
Worth noting is that the Thunder are already in the luxury tax after the Waiters trade, and adding Lopez would most likely plunge them a few million deeper into it – perhaps the point of no return. The team has long sought to avoid the luxury tax and its stacking punishments for teams that remain over the tax threshold for consecutive years (the repeater penalty), but Kevin Durant's free agency in 2016 casts a looming shadow over everything. The urgency is real in Oklahoma City right now.