Nets Rumors: Johnson, Lopez, Williams

Brooklyn appears steadfast in its desire to keep Mason Plumlee, who just a few weeks ago was behind minimum-salary signee Jerome Jordan and in third place on the team’s depth chart at center. Plumlee has quickly roared back into prominence, averaging 18.1 points and 10.6 rebounds in 35.0 minutes per contest over his last seven games. He’s been starting in place of an injured Brook Lopez, who returned in a limited role Tuesday. Lopez has been in several trade rumors of late, and we’ll pass along more on him and his teammates here:

  • The Nets decided months ago that they needed to break up their core, writes Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. The team is reportedly willing to deal Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, but Johnson is likely to stay, according to Beck. Johnson’s salaries of nearly $23.181MM for this season and almost $24.895MM for next year would make any trade challenging to construct, as Beck notes later in his piece, though it’s unclear if that’s the primary reason he’ll probably stay in Brooklyn. In any case, Nets officials are confident that they can deal Williams and Lopez, build around Johnson and remain a playoff-caliber team throughout the process, Beck reports.
  • Many executives around the league expect Lopez to turn down his player option for next season, worth more than $16.744MM, Beck writes. That appears to contradict a report last week from Grantland’s Zach Lowe, who wrote that most execs believe Lopez will opt in.
  • Brooklyn is more likely to deal Williams than either Lopez or Johnson, and talks with the Kings date back to last season, a source tells Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. That conversation might be on the back burner, but it isn’t truly finished, Bondy hears, which jibes with the latest reports on that discussion.

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