In an exclusive interview with Greg Logan of Newsday, Brook Lopez talked about the trade that ended his nine years with the Nets ... and his dream of one team, one career.
Sounding more matter-of-fact than bitter, Lopez said he was working out when word came back on June 20.
“I was in Brooklyn working out, and I got a call from the team, and they let me know,” he said of the deal that sent him and the 27th pick to L.A. for D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. “So, I just got packed up and got out to L.A. that night, and I was in the gym the next morning.”
The trade didn’t catch him by surprise. How could it? He had been traded so often in rumors that it became second nature to him to prepare for a move.
“I understood,” Lopez told Logan. “I got it. It didn’t surprise me. They’d been talking about doing stuff before, and I had heard rumors before about going other places. So, it didn’t shock me at all.
“I couldn’t do anything about it. So, I was just trying to prepare myself for whatever eventuality, and once it happened, I got down to business out here and got to work.”
The Nets took out a full-page ad in the Daily News to thank Lopez for his record-setting career in Brooklyn, and before that in New Jersey, but the 29-year-old didn’t look back. He offered no farewell. It is, after all, a business.
He did get a bonus in the deal. He went to the team that he had rooted for as a kid, and one that his California-born family loves as well.
“Playing for a team you grew up rooting for, there’s nothing cooler than that,” Lopez said. “My mom’s a fan of the team and my brothers are fans of the team.”
As for whether he still follows the team that drafted him in 2008, Lopez was, as Logan writes, succinct.
“No,” he responded.
So far, Lopez hasn’t been as big a part of the Lakers as he was of the Nets last season. He’s averaged 11.7 points per game, down from 20, and shooting only 38.2 percent, down from 47.4 percent. He’s earning $22.6 million this year.