Brook Lopez has been on a tear since the calendar flipped to March, and it has continued into the postseason. The eighth seeded Nets are tied 2-2 with the Atlanta Hawks thanks in part to Lopez's play. Fred Kerber spoke to executives and scouts around the league to gauge what Lopez can be worth on the open market, and the results aren't that surprising.
"Brook Lopez was the best center in the league in March and April," one league scout told Kerber. Lopez is facing a $16.7 million player option this offseason that he may opt-in to so he can hit the open market when the salary cap is expected to see a huge jump, close to $90 million.
One league GM told Kerber that the Nets are going to have to max out Lopez, and he has all the leverage due to their grim future.
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."
Kerber goes onto mention that Lopez can opt-out this summer, and then re-up with Brooklyn for five years, while competing bidders can only offer four years. As one Central Division GM told the New York Post writer, ""Why would they let him go? Everything I see, he’s a good kid. And he can [bleeping] play."
What some GM's see is that Lopez has been healthy for the most part all year, with no foot-related issues, and that the Nets would be "starting over again." Lopez has proven his worth to this franchise and he is worthy of a max contract from the team that has looked to constantly get rid of him.
Lopez is going to be a hot commodity on the market, one general manager thinks, with the market running bare on big men.
"I don’t see Gasol leaving Memphis. DeAndre Jordan will be in play with a lot of people," the GM said. "And there’s Lopez. I’m hearing more and more he’s staying put, too."
This summer will be yet another interesting one for the Nets franchise, and their gifted center.
- NBA execs agree: Nets desperately need Brook Lopez long term - Fred Kerber - NY Post
- Report: NBA execs expect Brook Lopez to stay with Nets - Devin Kharptertian - The Brooklyn Game