Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young both opted out of the final year of their respective contracts with the Brooklyn Nets, and those decisions are paying off in a big way. It didn’t take long for both players to reach new deals with Brooklyn, with Lopez getting three years and $60 million and Young getting four years and $50 million, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Lopez, 27, will receive a three-year, $60 million maximum contract that includes some protections for the Nets should a recurrence of Lopez’s past foot issues sideline him again, sources said. The deal is expected to include a player option after the second season, which would allow him to re-enter free agency once new television money raises the salary cap.
Young, 27, who opted out of $10.2 million owed him next season, will sign a four-year, $50 million deal, sources said.
It’s unclear what the protections for the Nets in Lopez’s deal are, but it’s good that they’re there. He’s absolutely a max player when healthy, arguably the best offensive center in the league. But his foot problems have never fully gone away, so that health isn’t a sure thing.
The return of Young and Lopez to the Nets has been a foregone conclusion around the league since they opted out, with strong indications that they intended to get new long-term deals done. And that’s exactly what happened.
When the Brooklyn Nets shipped Mason Plumlee out the door on draft night, trading him to Portland, it was a sign they were very confident they could bring back free agents Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young. As New York Post Nets writer Tim Bontemps noted, the only other bigs on the roster are Cory Jefferson, Earl Clark, and Chris McCullough.
The Nets need Lopez and Young back, and the sense around the league is they will get just that.
From Marc Stein and Mike Mazzeo of ESPN:
Rival teams interested in Brooklyn Nets free agents Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young are increasingly convinced that they have no shot at luring either one away from the incumbent Nets, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN.com that both Lopez and Young are widely expected to reach verbal agreements on new deals with the Nets early in free agency, which officially begins Wednesday at midnight.
Not long after free agency opens, the Nets are expected to reach a verbal agreement with Lopez for three-years, $60 million, while Young will get in the neighborhood of four years, $50 million, according to multiple reports. The two sides can start negotiating on July 1, but no deal can be signed around the league until July 9 (there is a moratorium).
The Nets are active on other fronts as well. They are trying to trade Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, both guys are making more than $20 million next season and the Nets want to reduce or eliminate their luxury tax.
Mazzeo also added this about another Nets free agent.
Brook Lopez had a player option on his contract with the Nets to remain with the team on a deal that would have paid him in excess of $16.7 million for next season.
“Had” is the operative word, because Lopez has declined the final year of his deal to become an unrestricted free agent.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
After Brook Lopez opted out of contract today, the Nets remain a strong frontrunner to re-sign him, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Lopez has dealt with significant injuries in two of his last four seasons, so declining a one-year deal for a longer, more lucrative one that provides some long-term financial security makes plenty of sense.
Should he be interested in pursuing other opportunities, plenty of teams would come calling. When healthy, Lopez is a more-than-solid big man option, especially offensively. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots in 29.2 minutes per game in Brooklyn last season.
If LaMarcus Aldridge is leaving the Trail Blazers, they’re wasting no time getting younger replacement bigs.
First, they traded for Noah Vonleh.
Now, they’re getting Mason Plumlee.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Steve Blake and Pat Connaughton, the No. 41 pick, don’t move the needle much. Honestly, No. 23 pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson doesn’t do much for me either, though I recognize others rate him more highly.
Plumlee is the most valuable player in this trade, and he’s good enough to make Portland the winner.
Plumlee didn’t really fit in Brooklyn with Brook Lopez, so there’s little harm dealing Plumlee. I just would have thought the Nets could get more for him.
Mikhail Prokhorov said he’ll pay the repeater luxury-tax for the Nets.
Thaddeus Young – who had a $10,221,739 player option – could put that to the test.
Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:
Young helped the Nets sneak into the playoffs after coming to Brooklyn for Kevin Garnett. But keeping the 27-year-old forward could get expensive.
Let’s make a few assumptions about the rest of the roster:
Here’s a projection of how much Young’s salary – from the minimum to his projected maximum – would cost Brooklyn in light of the harsh repeater penalties:
|Thaddeus Young salary
||Cost to Nets
It obviously gets ridiculous, especially when you get to Young’s estimated starting salary for next season of around $11 million.
However, if the Nets don’t re-sign Young, they can’t just spend that money elsewhere. They’d be limited to the $3,376,000 taxpayer mid-level exception. And there’s no upside for getting worse. They already traded their 2016 first-round pick to the Celtics.
If they don’t sign Young, the Nets have a chance to get under the tax. That’s the route every other owner would go – especially considering the upside to signing Young is fighting for a playoff berth in the weak Eastern Conference.
But Prokhorov is a different breed. Young could show us just how different.