Brook Lopez? Involved in trade rumors?
The Nets center wouldn’t know ... or so he claims.
“I stop before I read the sports section,” Lopez said.
The latest Lopez rumor, reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Chad Ford, involves the 23-year-old being shipped to Orlando in a three-team blockbuster that would send Dwight Howard to New Jersey.
“I’ll get texts and stuff from my friends saying, ‘Hey, you coming to Orlando? I got an extra couch and stuff.’ That’s about it, really,” Lopez said.
Lopez said he also hasn’t received a contract extension from the Nets.
“No. I haven’t heard any of that either,” he said. I just try to put the ball in the basket sometimes. That’s my job.”
Coach Avery Johnson has handled all the speculation like a pro.
“When I was a player, my name was in the papers for different reasons,” Johnson said. Maybe I was going to get cut. Maybe I wasn’t good enough as a starter. There was probably 10 different times I was going to get fired at Dallas and the rumors will start happening here at some point.”
Lopez said all of it really doesn’t bother him because he always gives it his all.
“I’ve done all I could do. I’ve done everything in my power,” he said. “I’ll be all right. I just take it one day at a time.”
Lopez has never missed a game during his three-year career, and averaged 20.4 points per game. His rebounding, though has been an issue, but Johnson said he’s been making strides in that area with assistant Popeye Jones.
“Brook is doing a good job of working the glass a little bit more, and Popeye has worked really hard with him on trying to gain some ground to get in better rebounding position, because his rebounds are definitely gonna have to go up this year,” Johnson said of Lopez, who averaged a career-low 6.0 boards per game.
Point guard Deron Williams credited Johnson and his ability to keep younger players focused despite all the uncertainty
Like I said, it hasn’t seemed to bother us so far. It’s been pretty steady in here, everybody’s been working hard. And that’s really all we can do,” Johnson said. “That’s the nature of this business, trade rumors are always going to surround teams, they’re always going to happen. It’s always a possibility and it’s really out of our control.”
Williams got traded out of the blue last season. He never saw it coming.
Does he think it’s easier if you know it’s about to happen?
“I don’t know. I haven’t had it the other way, so I don’t know what’s better. I know it probably sucks period to get traded. In the middle of the season, especially,” Williams said.
Williams doesn’t want to concern himself with the roster being in-flux.
“It’s out of my control, so I’m just playing basketball that’s I can do is focus on what’s going on here on the floor and I think we’ve done a good job of that,” Williams said. “We haven’t let any of the distractions bother us. We’ve had a good six days of practice, of camp, and we’re just getting better.”