A year ago, at least five NBA centers carried the designation “untouchable”. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, that number may be shrinking rapidly in the face of Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline. Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins went relatively cheaply to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday. Now Stein quotes sources on the declining asking price for Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez.
The price on Brook Lopez has dropped, league sources say. Instead of two first-rounders, word is Brooklyn would accept a first and a second.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 21, 2017
Stein also cites swirling rumors that Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond may have gone from “off the block” to on.
Hearing more and more teams say today they believe Detroit will NOT discourage trade inquiries for center Andre Drummond this week.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 21, 2017
The Portland Trail Blazers picked up Jusuf Nurkic from the Denver Nuggets in a modest swap before the All-Star break. It’s unlikely the Blazers would have enough assets to acquire either big-name center mentioned by Stein unless they’d part with CJ McCollum or Damian Lillard, a concept approaching anathema to this point. Still, Portland is reportedly committed to moving center Festus Ezeli, whose $7 million contract with a non-guaranteed option next year could provide cap ballast for such a move.
Whether the Blazers are involved or not, with prices dropping there’s never been a better time to pick up a skilled 7-footer.
Lopez is averaging 20.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 29.6 minutes per game for the Nets this season on a $21 million contract that runs one more season.
Drummond averages 14.6 points and 13.8 rebounds in 30.4 minutes for the Pistons. He’s earning $22 million this year on a contract guaranteed through 2020, at which point he will make $27 million. Drummond has a player option for the 2020-21 season at $28.7 million.