Brook Lopez, against all odds, likes New York. He likes playing in Brooklyn. He’s comfortable here, and adjusted to an East Coast life after a childhood in California. But when he re-upped with a three-year deal this past summer, it was seen as a surprise by some. It was Lopez’s first real chance to test the free agent market, and see whether or not he’d like to make a home elsewhere.
But it didn’t take long before the Nets & Lopez came to an agreement — under one condition, according to Lopez.
The condition? “Cool it with the trade talk,” as Chris Mannix of SI.com reported. (Those are Mannix’s words.)
“We asked them to temper those ideas,” Lopez said. “We told them to pump the brakes a little.”
And the Nets response?
“They said they would, but it’s a business,” Lopez said. “It’s the way it is sometimes.”
It’s a bit of a surprise that Lopez, who notoriously avoids the rumor mill and NBA news cycle, would care that much about whether or not his name was on the market. But that’s a sign of just how bad it got. A quick search for “Brook Lopez trade” on Google returns almost 500,000 results. That’s a lot of trade talk for somebody who’s never been traded, or ever even switched teams in his eight-year career. The rumors spanned everyone from Dwight Howard to Lance Stephenson to Reggie Jackson — the latter, the Nets believed, was a done deal this past February until the Thunder pulled out at the last second.
Following the non-trade at the All-Star Break, Lopez dominated, averaging 19.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in the second half of the season. He’s the team’s top scorer and rebounder thus far this season, even as his role in the offense has slightly shifted following Deron Williams’s departure.
There hasn’t been any significant trade talk around Lopez this year, beyond a few columnists suggesting that the Nets could get value on the market for him. We’ll see if that side of the bargain holds up.
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