Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez is expected to opt out of his contract this summer, according to several NBA executives who are assessing the market.
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Lopez has been on fire since the All-Star break as in his last 10 games he is averaging 25.6 points per game on 60.2 percent shooting while also grabbing 8.8 rebounds per game.
Having won back-to-back Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards, he is pushing the Nets into the post-season, and as a result his stock is continuing to rise ahead of free agency this summer.
With the salary cap spike expected in 2016, many players are looking to wait a year before signing a long-term deal in order to maximise their earnings.
However, in this case it might be wise for Lopez to strike while he’s hot and grab himself a significant deal while he is in top form and healthy.
His play hasn’t gone unnoticed either, as it is reported that many executives around the league are expecting him to opt out and be in high demand this summer.
“Most execs expect Lopez to opt out and enter free agency after rampaging across the league over the last month,” Zach Lowe of Grantland reports.
Lopez is set to make $16.7m with the Nets next season, and they will have to decide whether or not to cash up and pay him big if he opts out.
Given that Deron Williams ($21m) and Joe Johnson ($24m) are already on the books, it might not be financially viable even with the salary cap raise, and the franchise had been consistently linked with trade deals involving that trio prior to the deadline in February.
As a result, Lopez could be looking at a big-market move this off-season with several teams looking to bolster their front-court. However, any team that signs him will be doing so with the risk of seeing him pick up another injury in a career that has been severely restricted because of numerous setbacks.