By Cory Bernstein
Well that was fast.
At four-ish today, I wrote a doomsday article about Brook Lopez getting an injury and how bad that was for the Nets, and many of the things I said were true. The Nets are severely impacted by the Lopez injury and there are few centers in the league that could replace him offensively. The Magic will still be more cautious to trade for Lopez without seeing if he can improve his dismal rebounding numbers.
But, the Nets traded for Mehmet Okur about eight hours after news broke of Lopez's injury. By no means is Memo as good as Brook, but you could do a lot wors (like Johan Petro). Okur actually has a similar game to Lopez on the offensive side of the ball. Both are comically slow and favor mid-range jumpers to a traditional post up game. Okur is a solid rebounder, and is much better at rebounding and probably a better defender than Lopez. However, Memo is on the wrong side of thirty and only played thirteen games last season, meaning we're one injury away from Petromania sweeping the nation.
The Lopez injury is obviously not a good thing. The Nets are now stuck with a superstar and a cast of role players, and history tells us that Lopez's injury will probably cost him closer to ten weeks then five. But, getting Memo helps. This is a player who Deron Williams knows and likes from his Utah days and was acquired for nothing. Deron will now need more convincing from Prokhorov, Jay-Z, and the rest of the Nets brass to stay with the Nets, but D-Will has to acknowledge and respect Billy King's alacrity in getting a viable replacement for the injured Lopez.
I said earlier today that nothing could possibly make this day bad as a Net fan. Stephen Graham, the Stephen Graham's whose Wikipedia page I edited last April to chronicle his bad defense, was released. My jubilation was through the roof that this disgrace of a basketball player had been purged from the Nets' roster. But, I never imagined that Brook Lopez, who has never missed a game, would go down with such a devastating injury. The Okur trade definitely lessens the blow of the Lopez injury. It may turn it from a fourth degree burn to a third, but it still makes it better. Okur can play the game of basketball, unlike Johan Petro, and his favorable expiring contract can be very important in a Dwight Howard trade (his contract matches up with Hedo's), making him even more valuable. As a stopgap for a few months, you could do much worse than trading for Mehmet Okur.
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