It looks like not only will Brook Lopez’s and Damion James’ feet be sharing similar fates, but now also their bank accounts. The Nets made it official today that they will not be renewing the rookie contract of Damion James, nor will they be offering an extension to Brook Lopez.
Suffering season-ending foot injuries is certainly not a good strategy to secure yourself contracts in this league and Nets G.M. Billy King admitted their feet were concerning:
“We’re not going to do anything with either one of them. The injuries played a part. That played a big part of it. And it was for the (salary cap) flexibility, too.”
Billy King – Nets G.M.
For Lopez the decision to not extend stems from a lot of different places. Obviously, his injury and subsequent surgery to his foot offers some complications to his future in the league, but the Nets are also dealing with the looming decisions that will need tending to (hopefully) this off-season in regards to Dwight Howard. And having that extra salary cap flexibility is vital. Lopez will now become a restricted free agent, which leaves the Nets the option to re-sign him, but they would like to first see how Lopez looks upon his return from injury.
In Damion James’ situation, the Nets decided to decline the option that would have paid James roughly 1.3 million dollars next season, instead he will become an unrestricted free agent. Injuries were obviously much more the concern in James’ case as it was announced yesterday that James underwent surgery on his foot, ending his season.
The news of the injury came at a bad time for James, who already suffered a season ending injury last season, but as with everything else the NBA is a business and the Nets need to make decisions for the betterment of the franchise, Travis Outlaw’s contract notwithstanding.