In a recent interview, Brook Lopez admitted that he loves what he’s seeing with the Los Angeles Lakers and went as far as inviting incoming free agents to consider the purple and gold as their next destination in the upcoming offseason. Unfortunately, all of the Lakers’ soon-to-be free agents, including Lopez, are facing an uncertain future, especially if Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka succeeded to acquire their superstar targets.
Brook Lopez could look to sign elsewhere, and according to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype, one of his potential landing spots is the Portland Trail Blazers. The Trail Blazers, led by the explosive backcourt duo of C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard, are currently competing in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs against the New Orleans Pelicans. In the upcoming offseason, they will be needing to make a tough decision regarding their starting center, Jusuf Nurkic.
Nurkic will become a restricted free agent, meaning that in order to bring him back, the Trail Blazers only need to match the offer of interested teams. Unfortunately, if a team gives him a huge offer, it’s unwise for Portland to bring him back, knowing that they are currently buried deep in the luxury tax hell. The likeliness of the scenario is high since the young and talented Nurkic could draw interest from rebuilding teams who have salary cap space this summer.
The potential departure of Jusuf Nurkic will force the Trail Blazers to look for a new starting center in the upcoming offseason wherein Brook Lopez could be one of their best options. As Urbina noted, Lopez would be a solid and cheaper alternative for the Trail Blazers. He offers the same skillset as Nurkic and has the ability to space the floor, which will be very beneficial for McCollum and Lillard. The Trail Blazers could offer the veteran center a non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which is projected to be worth about $8.6 million.
“A two-year, $17.2 million agreement would make sense for both parties, though it would hard cap Portland for 2018-19. Regardless, they may be willing to take that risk provided they land an experienced talent like Lopez, who would fill an important need.”
Money isn’t expected to be the main priority of Brook Lopez in the upcoming free agency. Lopez has earned a decent amount of money in the past years, and the thing he surely wants right now is to be able to compete in the playoffs and reach the NBA Finals. Joining a team like the Trail Blazers where he could form “Big Three” with C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard could help him accomplish his goal. However, other contenders who want a roster upgrade are also keeping an eye on Lopez and expected to make the best pitch when free agency hits this summer.