Brook Lopez

Report: Nets GM King “considered” shutting Brook Lopez down for season


Nets center Brook Lopez missed the first 32 games of this season with a broken right foot. Recently, Lopez sprained his right ankle. He is expected to be out for around 3 weeks, but Nets GM Billy King has reportedly considered shutting down his young center for the remainder of the season. From Colin Stephenson of the Star-Ledger:

Nets GM Billy King said the team is being cautious with Lopez and considered shutting him down for the entire season.

“We’ve got a young player, 23, and we’re gonna make a decision, do we keep him out the rest of the year? Because I think it’s important for us to have a healthy Brook Lopez,” King said. “He’s not going to be out for the rest of the year but at three weeks, if he still have a little soreness in the ankle, we’re going to hold him out. Because my main concern is about Brook Lopez, going forward at 23 years old. We want him as healthy as possible.”

It’s no secret that the Nets’ future is contingent on two things happening: the team keeping Deron Williams and acquiring Dwight Howard. Both players will be free agents at the end of this season, Howard has made it known he’d like to play in Brooklyn, and a Lopez-for-Howard swap has been the source of much discussion over the past few months.

Shutting Lopez down for the season would certainly decrease the chances of a Lopez-for-Howard trade at the deadline, but with the Magic looking like they might want to keep their franchise center for the season and risk free agency rather than trade him now. If that happens, the Nets would have an all-or-nothing off-season. If they can convince Howard to sign with them in free agency, they’ll likely be able to keep Williams and trade Lopez for some pieces that would fit well alongside the two superstars. If the team can’t get Howard, then there’s a high probability that Williams will leave and the Nets will return to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Right now, the team is only 12-26, and a high-lottery pick may actually be more beneficial for them in the long term than a semi-respectable record would be if Lopez returns but does not get traded for Howard at the deadline. It will be interesting to see what happens.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.