Rod Boone has put aside all the mock drafts and scouting reports on 19-year-olds. Instead, he's looking beyond Thursday to the fate of two 27-year-olds: Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young. The Draft is the preliminary. Free agency is the main event.
No one has yet said if the two are opting out of their last year, a final $16.7 million payout for Lopez and $10.2 million for Young. But the betting is that both will (although some are less sure about Young.) There's already been mixed results around the league as players and their agents consider the choice between negotiating a big new deal now or in a year, when team coffers will be flooded with new TV money ... and the cap blown sky-high.
How important is it? As Boone writes of the Nets, "their mantra remains the same as it was when their season ended in May. It's all about two individuals: Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young."
Boone notes all the financial issues and reprises what Mikhail Prokhorov and Billy King have said about what the team's priorities are .... and what they aren't:
"I'm not really looking at the cap or the tax," he quotes King as saying at one of the team's pre-draft workouts earlier this month. "The goal, as I've said from Day 1, is to get them re-signed, and then we'll build the team after that. I'm not saying, 'I got to be under the tax, I got to let Brook and Thaddeus go.' . . . There's not the mandate to stay under the tax. I'm not saying, 'How do I keep Brook and Thaddeus and stay under the cap?'
"The goal is to retain them and see where we finish after we fill out the roster."
King addresses the media again Monday. Expect the first question to be about Lopez and Young, not Delon Wright or Chris McCollough.
To Nets it's all about keeping Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young - Rod Boone - Newsday