Nets move toward new deal with Lopez
The Brooklyn Nets continue to negotiate a contract extension with center Brook Lopez, a move that could help facilitate a sign-and-trade deal or pave the way toward Lopez remaining with the franchise.
Lopez, a 24-year-old 7-footer drafted 10th overall in the 2008 draft, missed the first 32 games last season with a fractured right foot. He was injured in the final preseason game and had surgery Dec. 23.
He played five games, averaging 19.2 points and 3.6 rebounds, before he sprained his right ankle against the Charlotte Bobcats and was shut down for the rest of the season.
Lopez played all 82 games in his first three seasons and has career averages of 17.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
He’s the one player the Magic would demand in return if the Nets can pull off a deal for center Dwight Howard. Any such swap faces significant hurdles, primarily because the Magic prefers a deal that brings back minimal salary commitments to unload Howard.
Howard is in the final year of his contract and said in June that he won’t sign a long-term deal unless he’s traded to Brooklyn.
Because Lopez was injured last season, a proposed three-team trade with the Magic was put on the shelf, as was a new contract with the Nets.
The Nets extended a one-year, $4.2 million qualifying offer to Lopez as a restricted free agent rather than negotiate a long-term deal before the Jan. 25 extension deadline last season.
If the two sides don’t agree to a new deal, Lopez can become an unrestricted free agent in July 2013.
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