As Brook Lopez emerges as perhaps the league’s most productive center, the biggest decision of his life awaits him on the other side.
Lopez can opt out of his contract and look for a max deal anywhere in the NBA[note]The Nets can offer him five years, while other teams can only offer four.[/note], or opt in and wait for the league’s salary cap boom in 2016. He could also structure a short deal similar to Cavaliers Kevin Love and LeBron James, with an opt-out clause when the money kicks in.
Fred Kerber of the New York Post has taken the temperature of the league, and the prevailing wisdom suggests the seven-footer is staying in Brooklyn. Per The Post:
One opposing general manager, who said the prevailing thinking around the league is Lopez stays put and gets a max deal, may have summed it up best.
“If he walks, where are they going? They don’t have draft picks. They’re flip-flopping their pick [with Atlanta]. They’re getting the 29th instead of the 15th. For their future, I don’t see how they can lose him,” the GM said. “If Brook wants to stay there, he should be able to get whatever he wants.”
“Why would they let him go?” an exec from the Central Division said. “Everything I see, he’s a good kid. And he can [bleeping] play.”
“If he leaves, then they are starting all over again,” yet another rival executive said. “He has proven he is healthy. There’s no question he’s always been a good basketball player. The question was ‘Can he come back from the injury?’ He’s shown he can, especially the last two months.”
We’ve talked about the magnitude of the decision before. It’s a huge risk-reward proposition for both sides, and whatever happens will change the course of the franchise.
New York Post — NBA execs agree: Nets desperately need Brook Lopez long term