Now that the NBA trade deadline has officially passed, many teams will turn their focus towards the buyout market. Players such as Derrick Rose have already been bought out by after being traded, and the same is expected for Joe Johnson. The Los Angeles Lakers have a candidate of their own in Brook Lopez.
The veteran center has played well recently, but overall hasn’t been quite as expected on offense after the Lakers traded for him last summer. Nonetheless, as a center who can stretch the floor and provide rim protection, some top teams would be lining up should he become available.
That doesn’t look like it will happen, however, as ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports that Lopez would prefer to remain with the Lakers for the remainder of the season:
As I said a little while ago on the Jump, source tells me that Brook Lopez wants to stay with the Lakers the rest of the year. There's still time for that to change, but if it holds, teams hoping he'd be available after a buyout will be disappointed.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 8, 2018
Lopez is a California native and is comfortable here, so that likely plays a role in this feeling. Additionally, many players simply prefer not to have to move twice in less than a year.
The Lakers have praised Lopez for his leadership in the locker room which will be even more relied on now that Larry Nance Jr. was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. This could also come down to whether the Lakers want to get an even closer look at their pair of young centers, Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant.
If that were to be the case, the team may want to give Lopez the chance to join a championship contender. Even if his preference, for now at least, is to remain in Los Angeles.
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