Whether the reports are true or not, the Brooklyn Nets should not risk trading a huge package of players for a big name. Deron Williams and Joe Johnson have been solid, but haven't lived up to their own expectations even though the Nets are currently tied for the fourth best record in the East.
The contributions of some of the role players have been critical to the team's success.
With the trade deadline approaching fast, which players should the Nets avoid sending out in a trade this season?
Reggie Evans has probably been the most valuable dollar-for-dollar player since he entered the league.
Through 42 games this season, Evans is logging just 22 minutes a game, but his production when he's on the floor has been exceptional. He registers the highest total rebounding rate out of any eligible player in the league, snatching nearly 24 percent of all rebounds when he's on the court.
Although he may be a liability on offense, Evans' per-36 minute rebounding average rounds out to an absurd 14.5. That's incredible, given he's only 6'8", 250 pounds.
Speaking of good players on a valuable contract, Andray Blatche signed a one-year contract for the veteran's minimum with the Nets over the offseason, and his production has been miles beyond his salary level.
Blatche is currently ninth in the league in player-efficiency rating, trailing just two centers—Tim Duncan and teammate Brook Lopez.
In just 20 minutes per contest, Blatche is posting averages of 10.9 PPG and 5.8 RPG while shooting a career high 49.3 percent from the field.
After a mediocre lockout season with the Washington Wizards, and subsequently getting waived, Blatche seemingly found a new home with quality veterans. He has already expressed interest in re-signing with the Nets, and the organization should definitely look to keep him for the future.
It doesn't seem like the Brook Lopez-Dwight Howard trade will come to fruition, but the Nets should not consider dealing away one of the young, premier big men in the NBA for a half-injured Dwight Howard—or anyone else for that matter.
The Nets' starting center is only getting about 29 minutes of playing time per night, but he's fourth in the entire league in PER.
Lopez is averaging the most points per game and points per-36 minutes of any center in the league (per Basketball Reference). His offensive abilities are unmatched by any other big man in the league, while his defense and rebounding are both a work in progress.
Now, he's earning his contract through every game that he plays this season. The 7'0" center is just 24 years old, and he will be the cornerstone for the Nets' franchise for years to come.
To be blunt, MarShon Brooks hasn't done much this season.
He took a backseat to Joe Johnson after the Nets brought Johnson here in the offseason, but Brooks is only one of a few quality young players that the Nets have to build around for the future.
Not including him in the package for Johnson is already indicative of the organization's willingness to keep Brooks and continue to develop him.
This season, Brooks is logging just 11.5 minutes per game—exceptionally less than his 29.4 MPG last season. However, his points per-36 minutes (16.8) is higher than last season's (15.5) and his 47.7 shooting percentage trumps his 42.8 mark last year too.
Johnson will turn 32 over the summer, and Brooks will most likely be the Nets' future shooting guard. Unless a team is willing to offer an extraordinary deal for Brooks before the deadline, he shouldn't go anywhere.
Gerald Wallace may be having his worst season in nine years, but he's arguably the most important player for this team.
His point, rebound and field goal percentage averages are the lowest since he was a benchwarmer for the Sacramento Kings ten years ago. However, stats don't tell how valuable Wallace is to this team.
In a conference filled with elite wings and versatile forwards, Wallace will be instrumental to the success of the Nets in the playoffs. He's a proven defender with the quickness and agility to lock down guards, and the length and toughness to bother forwards.
For a team that's built to win right now, trading away Wallace will be disastrous to the team's chances of making a title run.