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Is Brook Lopez leadership material? Will he be around to show it?

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ONEXIM/Dmitry Beliakov

Brook Lopez has been in camp for weeks, working with teammates. "You wake up and you want to be doing it when you see your best players, vets and head coach out there working with you..." he said last month.

Before that, he was recruiting free agents.  As he told Fred Kerber, "I called guys, texted guys, met guys. Isn’t that amazing?  They said, ‘Let’s send the most antisocial guy we have to recruit …’"

And he hasn't been coy about how he believes this front office, this coaching staff is better than previous ones he's worked with, telling Cory Wright....

"No more being late, be on time in the training room getting your treatment, getting your weights in; be on the court at the same time. It’s a much more togetherness, much more camaraderie. We hold each other accountable and we have high expectations of each other."

You would think Lopez has decided to assume a new mantle ... leadership ... and according to a lot of observers, you'd be right. One of them is Ian Eagle.

"He's finally at a point where he's comfortable.  Not to say it's his team.  It's not his team. With this Nets squad, they're going to spread the wealth," Eagle told CNLS, a Celtic podcast this weekend "But I do think now, his true personality can come through in that locker room. And there are people on the team that he has connected with, other players that he's formed a bond with.

"That hasn't always been the case with Brook and the Nets. He was always well liked, but I don't necessarily think that he felt that commonality. He's got that now and it's building. It's growing more and I do think the kinds of personality that the Nets brought to this team has lent itself to that happening."

Eagle says getting Lopez to this point hasn't always been easy, that in the past he had been "detached," and that teammates going back to the 2013-14 season believed, "There's got to be more Brook" in the leadership mix.

Will there be a "cause-and-effect" on the court?  Eagle thinks so, but admits all of this could be moot if the team doesn't play well and Sean Marks starts getting phone calls about Lopez's availability.  As any Nets fan knows, that's like a rite of spring.

"Brook Lopez could the missing piece on a bunch of teams," Eagle said when discussing the possibility of trading Lopez for draft picks. "And the Nets can't go about their business without at least keeping that in mind ... and they will."

In the meantime, it's obvious the Nets are counting on Lopez, big time. He's the veteran, the All-Star, and now the leader.