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Brook Lopez and Deron Williams haven't really lived up to their massive contracts in the past three seasons. Lopez has suffered two major injuries which have cost him 142 games. He played only 5 games in 2011-12 and only 17 in 2013-14.
Williams has managed to stay on the court for the most part, but his health is still a concern. Williams had surgery on both ankles after the Nets were eliminated from the playoffs in May, and he's hardly the playmaker he used to be.
Lopez is still very productive when not nursing an injury—the big man averaged 20.7 points per game in limited action last season. But one has to be concerned about the chance that his foot problems will return, a legitimate possibility for a player of his size.
All of these problems add up to a desire to trade one of the two. This outcome is unlikely for a variety of reasons.
First of all, the value of either star is probably at the lowest it's ever been. The Nets can't ask for equivalent talent in return because of the injury histories associated with both Lopez and Williams. The two are owed a combined $73 million over the next two seasons, meaning any team willing to take a risk on one of them would be committing their short-term future to a player with a history of missed games and mediocre records.
Plus, what exactly would the Nets get in return? They aren't looking to take on another giant contract and therefore won't reel in players of the caliber of Lopez or Williams. They'd love some future draft picks since they've traded so many of their own away, but it's difficult to predict which teams will have lottery spots to give up months and years in advance.
And finally, the Nets still believe in this duo. Lopez is perhaps the best offensive center in the entire league when healthy, and if Williams' ankles can hold up, he can play like a top-10 point guard. In the watered-down East, that's enough talent to compete, especially with Joe Johnson contributing 15 to 20 points a night.
If there was a time when this type of trade was possible for the Nets, it was a few weeks ago. But with the NBA draft having come and gone, don't expect Lopez and Williams to be anywhere but Brooklyn next season.