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Brook Lopez, still in love with Brooklyn Nets, after years of it being unrequited

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

In 2012, Brook Lopez was hours away from being traded to Orlando for Dwight Howard. In 2015, he was MINUTES away from being traded to Oklahoma City for Reggie Jackson.  He was also in a package the Nets offered to the Nuggets for Carmelo Anthony.

They all fell through, Lopez endured a broken foot, foot surgeries and ultimately a foot reconstruction, one that required him to stay in bed for months. Despite all that, he didn't want a change of address. He admits he doesn't like change, but there's something else to his desire to stick around, as Mike Mazzeo writes Friday.

"Just playing in Brooklyn, playing in New York is such an amazing experience -- it's something that can be so special. I've been in on the ground floor with that, and I want to follow it through and see where it goes. I really, truly believe that something special is going to happen here," he told Mazzeo.

"I want to be a leader on this team, I want to make my teammates better, I want to help our team defy expectations. I want to be the leader of a good playoff team," Lopez added.

On a young club, half of whose players are younger than him, he'll need to.  But he believes he's prepared. He knows the organization. He's been a member of it, after all, longer than the owner, the chairman of the board, the general manager and of course the coach. Lionel Hollis in his seventh coach since he joined the team in 2008.

"He has the tools. He's a lot more vocal now," Johnson told Mazzeo. "So it's just up to Brook. As long as he's demanding out there on the court, and he wants the ball, you can see it, he's calling for it."

it's yet another facet of Brook Lopez who is building a house next to Disney World and trying to sell scripts written with his brother to Hollywood. He's also learning to play the piano and Japanese because he travels here during the off-season.

That's who he is and for the first time in a long time, the Nets appear glad to have him around.