Today and for the past few days, in the midst of negotiating to get Dwight Howard as the starting center for the Nets, Brook Lopez has been weighing his options in terms of where he’s going to play. Earlier today, it was reported that Lopez was choosing between Charlotte, Portland, and Brooklyn after they all offered him max deals.
People were on edge about the situation. I saw, heard, and read a lot of things saying that Lopez doesn’t deserve a max deal. Low and behold, Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that Lopez signed a four year, 61 million dollar contract. Not too long after, it was reported that the Dwight Howard trade was off the table.
I have very little issue with this signing. A healthy Lopez is better than more than 85% of the centers in the NBA even with his anemic rebounding numbers. He’s well below the league rebounding average for centers of 9.9. He only averages 7.5 rebounds per game for his career, but at the same token the league’s scoring average for centers this past season was 8.9 points. Lopez averages 17.5 points for his career.
If Omer Asik can make 27 million dollars over three years by averaging two points, I don’t see why Lopez can’t make 61 million when averaging 17.5.
The Nets were proactive this offseason in making their team a better one. They’ve signed Joe Johnson, retained Deron Williams, and now have Brook Lopez on the books as well. All of those players have tasted success in this league and two of the three are legitimate all-stars. They also are now in position to still bring Dwight Howard if the offer comes back onto the table.
They aren’t letting the Magic control their destiny–they’re doing it themselves. They’ve built a team that is probably going to contend for at least a four or a five seed in the East next season.
Had Lopez signed his offer sheet with another team, he’d in that uniform for at least one year. He wouldn’t be trade eligible until that year expired. The Nets have signed him to an extension which means that he’s not able to traded after January 15th. The Nets can still move him before the trade deadline if needed and still can use him as a piece to get Howard.
They’ve primed themselves to be good for at least next season and that’s something that you need to do when you’re facing your first season in a new arena. They’ll bring in an audience, at the least, and should take away some Knicks fans as well.
The Brooklyn Nets have set themselves up for success, and that’s saying something. Especially in this league.