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Is Brook Lopez gone after this season?

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Brook Lopez has a big decision in July: exercise his player option and become a free agent or play next season with an expiring contract at $16.7 million, hoping that he'll get a bigger deal in 2016 when the league's TV money kicks in.  Does he have an idea what he will do? He told Tim Bontemps he's not certain yet.

"I haven’t thought about that," he said. "I want to keep going, keep continuing to get my legs under me, and back to confidently playing basketball and being the player I normally can be. "That’s still way out. I always take it one game at a time, so it’s definitely a ways out."

But what about the Nets? How interested are they in him? He's certainly shown that he's back to his pre-surgery self, racking up huge games.  But there's a rub.  After signing and trading so many big deals, the Nets are faced with some tough choices: They want to be below the luxury tax threshold by the trade deadline next February, knowing if they don't get there, they will face the repeater tax and a total tax bill of $40 million.

As Bontemps writes...

Given the way Lopez is playing, the amount of teams set to have cap space this summer and with the cap set to massively jump going into the 2016-17 season, the stage seems set for Lopez to opt-out, hit the open market and get a massive pay day.  It will be difficult, however, for the Nets to give it to him.

Lopez has said he wants to play out his career with the Nets, but the franchise keeps wanting to trade him, most recently at the deadline when he was earmarked for Oklahoma City in a trade for Reggie Jackson. At some point, loyalty will end.