GM Billy King Says Nets Won’t Go Into ‘Panic Mode’ Following Lopez Injury
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — General manager Billy King said Sunday that the Brooklyn Nets are disappointed by the latest injury to Brook Lopez, but are not in panic mode.
Lopez broke his right foot again, leaving the Nets (9-17) without their leading scorer. King said he will see if there are any worthwhile trades, but is confident in the players he already has.
“When you get an injury like this, everybody calls you. Every agent that has a big guy on the sideline calls to offer their services,” King said.
“But we had been in discussions with a lot of teams up to this point. There’s not an imminent move, we’re not looking to make any imminent move trade-wise. We’ve got 14 other guys that can step up, but we’ll continue to discuss possibilities if it can make our team better.”
Lopez fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot, the same injury he sustained during a preseason game before the 2011-12 season. He played just five games that season, returned to make his first All-Star game last season, but then had to undergo another surgery to repair a screw that was bent after the team was eliminated in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
He had recently returned from a sprained left ankle and was averaging 20.7 points for a team that was hoping to finally begin turning around a disappointing season.
“It’s almost like we can’t catch a break. It’s always something every day, every other day somebody goes down. One man comes back, somebody goes down,” said guard Joe Johnson, adding he was “devastated.”
“It’s been tough because it’s hard to gain any chemistry with guys in and out, but I just hate it for the big fella because I know he worked so hard to try to come back and prepare himself for this season, and then coming off an All-Star season I know he wanted to get back to that.”
The Nets, who host Indiana on Monday, entered Sunday just two games behind Boston in the weak Atlantic Division. Paul Pierce, who learned of the news online, said the Nets can go on a run the way the Celtics did last season after learning they had lost Rajon Rondo for the season to a torn ACL.
“I mean, we just collectively came together pretty much. Everybody pretty much had written us off not to make the playoffs, which was kind laughable at the time to me,” Pierce said.
“But like I said, we got guys in here that’s capable and I think the mentality is not going to change in here. We can’t use that as an excuse. We have to come out here and continue to do our jobs each and every day regardless of who’s out there. We dealt with the injury bug all year.”
King said if the Nets do find a trade they feel will make them better, they will do it “regardless of tax or the future,” even though they are spending more than $180 million this season after the luxury tax is added.
Coach Jason Kidd said the Nets are deep at both post positions. Kevin Garnett, whose minutes have been carefully tracked, could be an option to start at center with Mirza Teletovic sliding off the bench and starting at power forward. Or, he could place Reggie Evans as his starting center with Garnett remaining at the 4.
And key reserves Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry both practiced Sunday and could be close to returning.
With Lopez out, don’t expect Kidd to make any sudden changes to the offense, such as running a lot more.
“We’re not speeding things up with him or without him. Again, with us scoring has not been the issue. It’s being able to get stops and rebounds. That’s what we got to focus on,” Kidd said.
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