Veteran center Brook Lopez is one of the most popular upcoming free agents in the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster. There are rumors that the Lakers may let him walk away this summer, and a return to his old team, the Brooklyn Nets, is quite possible for the All-Star big man, Hoops Hype‘s Frank Urbina reports.
Lopez, who turned 30 earlier this month, was traded by the Nets to the Lakers last summer in exchange for 2015 second overall pick D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. In his first year outside of Brooklyn, Lopez produced the worst stats of his NBA career as he only averaged 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.3 blocks in 23.4 minutes per game for L.A.
Despite the drop in numbers, Lopez had been an effective part of the young Lakers roster this season, emerging as the team’s veteran voice both on and off the basketball court. According to the report, the former Stanford standout is said to be a “positive locker-room presence” for head coach Luke Walton’s young players and “would be supremely helpful on a team with legitimate expectations” come next season.
The one-time NBA All-Star just finished the final year of the three-year, $63.4 million deal he signed with the Nets in the summer of 2015. Lopez enters unrestricted free agency this July, and several teams are rumored to be interested in signing him.
Urbina said that one of those teams is going to be Brooklyn, where he played the first nine years of his NBA career and developed himself as an All-Star level talent. He has been in the playoffs twice with the Nets, and a third outing may come next season if he returns to the squad.
The Nets could offer him half of what he previously earns, around $20 million for two years, which would be enough for “both club and player,” Urbina noted.
Lopez is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with more than 10,000 points under his name. He has averaged more than 20 points four times in Brooklyn, averaging more than seven rebounds per game for the Nets.
In his exit interview with the Lakers on Sunday (h/t Lakers Nation), Lopez said that he believes he did not reach his “best basketball this season.” The North Hollywood, California, native continued that his “best basketball is ahead of me” and that Los Angeles is “a great place to be going forward.”