In an interview Wednesday with WFAN's Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts, Brook Lopez said he feels as good as he has since coming into the NBA seven years ago. And after what he did hours later in Charlotte, who are we to disagree?
Part of it, he admits, has been getting beyond his history of injuries which have robbed him of so much playing time and which led to two surgeries last year, reconstruction of his right foot in January and stretching and repairing ligaments in his left ankle in March.
"It (the injury history) may have slightly been in my mind earlier in the season, but the one thing I’ve really been thankful about in this season for me personally is just that as I’ve gone through the season it’s been really up and down for me personally. I felt complete confidence in my body, in my foot, and especially these last six to eight games, I’ve felt amazingly loose, as good as I’ve felt since coming into the league, just movement-wise, and being ready to play."
"I don't want to attribute it to just being healthy. As I said earlier in our conversation, it's more than just being healthy. I think I was healthy early in the season from the get go. It's just a matter of me feeling that I'm more in shape. I have more bounce in my step. I'm just moving a lot better."
Lopez did seem a bit nervous when asked about his relationship with Lionel Hollins, dropping more of his trademark "you knows" in that one paragraph than in the rest of the conversation.
"I have been through a lot of coaching transitions in my career with the Nets. Takes some time to to get used to each other. But there are no issues now. We're doing great now,"
For the first time in a while, Lopez and Mason Plumlee spent time together on the court last night, when after Thaddeus Young went down, Hollins brought in Plumlee. Lopez thinks the Twin Towers idea could work.
"I honestly think a lot of it is just opportunity. I'd absolutely love for Mason and I to get more minutes. I'm a huge advocate of it. We just haven't had that much opportunity playing together. We really don't know what we have to do covering each others back, two really big players -- having a big 4 and myself at the 5. We have to learn to co-exist out there. I think it could work."
Lopez also avoided talk about his big decision come July 1. He can opt out of his contract and look for a bigger deal or wait a year and try for even more money in 2016 when the national TV deal drops a ton of cash on teams. Of course, there's always the risk of injury ... or a trade. He admits his agent would like him to think about it.
"We haven’t really honestly had a lot of sit-down discussions and talked about it ... He reminded me every now and then that that is coming up, the option and there’s opportunities there, but that’s not something I’m focusing on now,"
Has the constant trade talk been a motivation, he was asked.
"It definitely can be motivation. I think is motivation in a way. I like going on the court and showing people what kind of player I can be and the type of player I think I am."
- Brook Lopez Interview (Audio) - Joe Benigno & Evan Roberts - WFAN
- Brook Lopez's Major Contract Decision Looms For Nets - Devin Kharpertian - The Brooklyn Game
Brook Lopez still here, still going strong - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York