With the prospect of a trade for Dwight Howard fading and the season opener less than a week away, New Jersey Nets coach Avery Johnson was getting a feel for his team.
That changed when center Brook Lopez suffered a broken right foot. Lopez, the Nets' leading scorer, underwent surgery Friday in which a screw was inserted into the fifth metatarsal. He was hurt in a preseason game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday and will be sidelined at least six weeks and probably more.
In the meantime, general manager Billy King acquired former all-star center Mehmet Okur from Utah for a second-round draft pick, signed free-agent guard DeShawn Stevenson, and waived forward Ime Udoka.
With the additions of Okur and Stevenson, the Nets have hit the salary cap, so their revamped team is set.
Pierce may miss opener
Boston guard Paul Pierce did not practice Friday because of a nagging heel injury and might not play in the Celtics' season opener against the Knicks in New York on Christmas Day.
Pierce did shoot around after the session, but coach Doc Rivers wasn't optimistic that his captain would be available Sunday, when the Celtics and Knicks are playing one of the NBA's five season openers.
The NBA reduced suspensions for the Los Angeles Lakers' Andrew Bynum and the Detroit Pistons' Charlie Villanueva by one game because of the shortened season.
The league trimmed one game off the five-game ban Bynum was given for knocking the Mavericks' J.J. Barea to the court in the second round of last season's playoffs. The center will miss the first four games.
Villanueva originally was suspended five games for instigating an altercation with Cleveland's Ryan Hollins and attempting to escalate it by entering the Cavaliers' locker room. He served a game of it last season and will have to miss the first three of this season.
Season over for Arthur
Memphis Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn right Achilles tendon.
The team said that Arthur is expected to be ready for the 2012-13 season. He suffered the injury Dec. 18.
The Grizzlies waived forward Walter Sharpe, who had signed Dec. 10. He last played for Detroit during the 2008-09 season.
Wolves waive Wells
The Minnesota Timberwolves waived veteran guard Bonzi Wells, who has not appeared in an NBA game since 2008.
Wells spent the last two years playing in China and Puerto Rico and went to camp hoping to revive his career.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant took part in a full practice Friday afternoon despite a torn ligament in his right wrist and, by all accounts, is fine, according to a report by ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Two cut by Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets waived guard Cory Higgins and forward Michael Ruffin.
Higgins was an undrafted free agent who played at Colorado and signed with Denver on Dec. 9. His father is former NBA player Rod Higgins, who once was coached by the Nuggets' George Karl when both were with Golden State.
Bobcats make moves
Charlotte waived forwards Melvin Ely and Taylor Griffin and guard Durrell Summers.
The team also decided not to match the offer sheet to restricted free agent Dante Cunningham, leaving the roster at 15 players. Ely's departure was a mild surprise considering he was brought in to help fill the void created when Kwame Brown left via free agency.
- Associated Press