Milwaukee Bucks Rumors: Brook Lopez among Houston Rockets targets

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 26: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 26: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

A great season with the Milwaukee Bucks means Brook Lopez will attract plenty of attention in free agency, and the Houston Rockets may be among his suitors.

Brook Lopez stands out as one of the most challenging contract situations facing the Milwaukee Bucks as they prepare for multiple key players to hit free agency next week.

The nature of the bargain deal Lopez signed with the Bucks last summer, along with his relatively short stay with the franchise, means Milwaukee doesn’t hold Lopez’s Bird rights and therefore can’t go over the cap to re-sign him.

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Having dealt Tony Snell to open up cap space last week, the Bucks have certainly progressed positively toward being able to make Lopez a sizable offer, but they’ll still have to see off notable competition from other teams around the NBA.

According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, one such team who may well become a factor in the Bucks’ attempts to re-sign Lopez is the Houston Rockets.

Amick seconded the reporting of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski from Tuesday, noting that a potential sign and trade deal for Jimmy Butler remains Houston’s primary focus approaching June 30, but he also detailed a list of players, including Lopez, who may also garner their attention.

"“A source with knowledge of the Rockets’ plans said Danny Green, Jeremy Lamb, Al-Farouq Aminu, DeAndre Jordan, Brook Lopez and Kevon Looney are also possible targets. But Butler, make no mistake, is the dream addition.”"

With just the mid-level exception at their disposal as things currently stand, the Rockets don’t present an obvious financial threat to any Milwaukee offer. Still, that hasn’t necessarily stopped Houston from getting creative in the past, and whether via other trades to open up space, or hoping for a potential sign-and-trade opportunity, they may yet find away to become a surprise factor in the Lopez sweepstakes.

Sign-and-trades are very rare in the NBA, and tend to be the source of more speculation than concrete action. As evidence of that point, the last notable sign-and-trade saw Milwaukee acquire Matthew Dellavedova in the summer of 2016. From the Rockets’ perspective, perhaps their only hope of pulling off such a deal for Lopez would be for the Bucks to get nervous about the increasingly high salary bill they’re soon to be facing.

In terms of fit, Lopez makes for an incredibly obvious target for the Rockets. With reports frequently indicating Houston’s willingness to deal Clint Capela in recent months, adding Lopez, or a big of his ilk, could see the league’s most three-point happy team lean even more into that approach with a five-out attack.

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Any Rockets’ pursuit of Lopez will include a lot of moving pieces, which should reassure the Bucks, but Houston’s interest will act as just another reminder of the urgency needed in negotiations with the veteran center.