EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Brook Lopez couldn't help but think of the good times with Paul Pierce, reminiscing Thursday about the vibe the veteran brought to the Nets in his lone season in Brooklyn.
Lopez may be soon looking back at something else in the near future: his former days wearing a Nets uniform. Trade chatter surrounding the 7-footer is heating up and ESPN reported the Nets are in discussions in a three-team trade with the Hornets and Thunder that would send Lopez to Oklahoma City.
According to the report, the Nets would land Brooklyn native Lance Stephenson from Charlotte, and the Nets' Jarrett Jack along with Oklahoma City's Jeremy Lamb would head to the Hornets.
Paul Pierce could have re-signed with the Nets as a free agent last summer but chose to join the Wizards. That decision appears to be working out quite nicely for the 37-year-old.
Pierce is averaging 12.8 points and 4.3 rebounds for a Wizards team that, at 27-12, has the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. The Nets (16-23) are on a seven-game losing streak and are barely holding on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
So as the Nets prepared Thursday to begin a home-and-home with the Wizards Friday night in Washington, center Brook Lopez was asked if he misses Pierce.
"Oh, man. Truth,'' a smiling Lopez said of the man whose nickname is "The Truth." "I miss that guy, definitely. He's a great teammate -- fun to be around in the locker room, fun to play with, loves playing the game and made the game so much easier for me, being with him.''
Lopez said there's no doubt Pierce has helped the Wizards, who are led by dynamic point guard John Wall. The Wizards had the same record as the Nets last season (44-38) but now seem to be in a different class.
Even though Pierce played only one season in Brooklyn, he made an indelible impression on Lopez.
"He's an amazing teammate, one of the best teammates I ever played with, no question,'' Lopez said. "He always has your back; he's always looking for ways to help me improve, make me better. And he got everyone going. He was a real motor for us.''
The Nets could use someone to get them going. With Deron Williams in street clothes, they are undermanned. (The team announced he still has pain in his rib area and said it will give its next update on the point guard on Wednesday.) But coach Lionel Hollins said he isn't worried about that now. He's busy trying to figure out how to stop the losing and said he knows only one way to do it.
"Work,'' Hollins said. "Get after it. You can't come out of adversity by feeling sorry for yourself. You can only come out of it by going to work and working harder and trying to correct the mistakes that you've been making that cost you some of the games that we've lost.''