Brook Lopez's Trade Value Reportedly Dropped by Brooklyn Nets

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2017

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 30:  Brook Lopez #11 of the Brooklyn Nets in action during a NBA game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on January 30, 2017 in Miami, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)
Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets have reportedly dropped their asking price for center Brook Lopez from two first-round picks to a first- and second-rounder, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. 

Lopez, 28, is averaging 20.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks this season for the Nets. He's also added three-point range to his offensive repertoire, hitting 34.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

It isn't surprising that the Nets seem to be primarily interested in draft picks. The Nets are the worst team in basketball at 9-47 but won't have a lottery pick in 2017 since the Boston Celtics almost certainly will exercise their option to swap picks in this year's first round. Boston also owns Brooklyn's 2018 first-rounder, so the Nets have no means at the draft to escape the bottom of the standings.

Instead, the Nets currently have to either hope they can attract free agents this summer or trade an asset like Lopez. But the market for big men is shrinking.

The Portland Trail Blazers were in the market for a center, but they traded for Jusuf Nurkic. The New Orleans Pelicans were in the market for a center, but they traded for DeMarcus Cousins.

Plus, Lopez is hardly the only big man on the market. The Philadelphia 76ersby all accounts, have been trying to trade Jahlil Okafor to clear up their frontcourt logjam. And while Lopez is a better player at the moment, the 21-year-old is younger, cheaper and under club control until before the 2019-20 season, when he's eligible to become a restricted free agent.

Lopez, meanwhile, is due $22.6 million next year, per Spotrac, before he becomes eligible to hit unrestricted free agency.

Add it all up, and it's obvious that the Nets simply don't have the leverage to demand two first-round picks for Lopez. While potential playoff teams would benefit from adding a player like Lopez, they have less reason to pay a huge price in what appears to be a buyer's market, at least when it comes to centers.

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