Brook Lopez has informed the Nets that he will be opting out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent, according to various reports:
Also, as widely reported they would do, Brook Lopez and JR Smith officially opted out @BBallInsiders
— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 29, 2015
The more recent reports confirm what Nets general manager Billy King said shortly after the draft: that Lopez’s camp had informed him that he would likely be opting out, “as expected.” He may have opted out a couple of days ago, but either way, he’s out.
This should come as no surprise to anyone. Lopez is in line to earn a max contract with a starting salary of just under $19 million, should the league’s salary cap projections hold. Even if he wanted to sign just a one-year deal, it makes sense for him to opt out and earn that extra few million.
Far more likely is that Lopez will elect to sign a deal for at least three years, which would give him significant financial security, as well as the option to cash in on the league’s influx of TV money that will raise the league’s salary cap significantly over the next few years. The Nets could also offer Lopez a five-year maximum contract worth close to $110 million, should he value the long-term security above future earning potential.
Lopez’s future is in his hands, and he could elect to leave if he so chooses. Remember, he was born and raised on the other side of the country in California, and has spent his adult life living in the New York area.
But the Nets still remain the frontrunners to re-sign Lopez. The 27-year-old seven-footer averaged 17.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season, and won back-to-back Player of the Week Awards in March & April. He led the team into the back end of the playoffs with a late 13-6 surge over Brooklyn’s final 19 games.
Here’s a video of Brook Lopez dancing with the Nets Kids Dance Team.