Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez has a player option next season worth $16.7 million, and many NBA executives believe the big man will opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent, according to Grantland’s Zach Lowe.
This news comes in the midst of a tremendous hot streak for Lopez and the Nets. Since the All-Star break, he’s averaging 20.0 points and 9.2 rebounds while shooting 53.2 percent from the field. In the last 10 games, he’s averaging 25.6 points and 8.8 rebounds while shooting 60.2 percent. Led by the resurgence of Lopez and Deron Williams, Brooklyn has surged back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture and currently hold the No. 7 seed.
Lopez has always been a talented player, but he has had a litany of foot issues that have forced him to miss a ton of games over the past few years. After not missing a game in his first three seasons in the league, he played just five of 66 games in 2011-12. He stayed mostly healthy in 2012-13, but then played just 17 games last season.
Lopez has been able to stay on the floor, for the most part, this season, appearing in 67 of 77 games. By opting out, he’d clearly be trying to parlay this second-half surge into a lucrative new contract. The question would then become how much he should get in free agency. When healthy, the 27-year-old is at least close to a max guy. But can you really trust those feet to stay healthy considering the history? It would be quite the risk, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Nets are willing to take that chance and shell out a huge deal.