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Brook Lopez, an increasingly hot property ... IF he opts out

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Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Brook Lopez has said more than once that he won't think about free agency until the playoffs are over, and his play would indicate he doesn't want to face that decision too soon.  He's averaging 19.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.67 blocks per game against  the Hawks this series. In his last playoff series, vs. the Bulls two years ago, he went for 22.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. Lopez is not just producing, but producing when it counts.

"He’s a top tier dude," Jarrett Jack told SheridanHoops Mike Scotto after Game 3. "He’s right up there with the other big-name centers in this league from what he can bring on the perimeter as well as on the post."

So what's the betting on whether he'll opt out come late June? Scotto paints an interesting picture, noting that if he decides to stay, he'll make $16.7 million and have the security of another guaranteed year, injury or not. If he opts out, in 2016 when the big TV money inflates everyone's coffers, he could get a huge deal. That's pretty much been the calculus for a while. But Scotto adds another aspect to the mix: competition.

Scotto notes that If Lopez opts out this summer, he'll join a "loaded crop of definite unrestricted free agent centers," including: Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler, Omer Asik, Brandan Wright, even brother Robin. In 2016, not only will there be big bucks, but a smaller field.  One thing is for sure: between his huge efforts in the Nets playoff push and now his post-season production, Lopez is likely to be heavily pursued.