It may seem a little unfair to include someone like Lopez in this list considering the sole reason for the disappointment is a foot injury that has kept Lopez out all season. But Lopez’s absence from the Nets starting lineup has had a ripple effect throughout New Jersey’s current and future plans that can’t be ignored.
It’s no secret that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has coveted Dwight Howard to pair with point guard Deron Williams, which would give the team two first-team-caliber players just in time for the move to Brooklyn.
As the Magic would certainly be looking for a young center with high long-term potential to replace Howard, the cornerstone of any Nets/Magic deal would have to be Lopez. But due to the injury, Lopez has gone from coveted young piece to a big man with significant injury concerns.
If Lopez has any other setbacks, he could gain an unwanted and unshakable stigma of being a soft and injury-prone big man. This stigma could single-handedly crush any hopes New Jersey has of dealing for Howard this season.