The Brooklyn Nets have intensified trade discussions for center Brook Lopez and want to move him soon, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Hornets began to gather traction on a three-way trade late Thursday afternoon, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
But because of reservations about bringing back combustible Charlotte guard Lance Stephenson to his hometown, Brooklyn cooled on the idea of a three-way deal Friday morning, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Nets turned their focus toward trying to make a deal with Oklahoma City without a third team faciliator.
Oklahoma City has been the most aggressive in its pursuit of Lopez, league sources told Yahoo Sports, and the Nets have delivered indications they would like to settle on a trade by the weekend, league sources said.
There have been discussions on Lopez with Charlotte, Denver and the Los Angeles Lakers, but those haven't gained traction, league sources said.
Brooklyn officials had re-canvassed the league for intel on Stephenson, only to come away with the same conclusions as earlier trade talks this season: For them, he was too big of a risk.
The Nets have three max-contract salaries on the roster – Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson – and are motivated to shed two of the three before the Feb. 19 trade deadline, league sources said. Brooklyn has lost seven straight games to drop to 16-23, and owner Mikhail Prokhorov is pursuing a sale of the team.
Brooklyn has been unable lately to find any traction in talks to move Williams, league sources said.
Lopez, 26, has a player option of $16.7 million on his contract for the 2015-16 season, which he's almost certain to exercise based on the foot injuries that have plagued him the past few years. Lopez makes $15.7 million this season. He was an Eastern Conference All-Star in 2013, but missed most of the 2014 season with a recurrence of a foot injury.
Charlotte has been desperate to move Stephenson, who has been unable to integrate himself into the franchise's culture under coach Steve Clifford. Stephenson, 24, signed as a free agent over the summer and has a guaranteed deal for the 2015-16 season and a team option for '16-17.
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