Brook Lopez, not Dwight Howard, will be the Nets’ franchise center as they move to Brooklyn. Lopez signed a maximum salary ($61 million), four year contract today. This signing will put an end to the Dwight Howard trade talks for now because the Nets will not have enough tradable assets until January. Lopez played only five games last season due to injuries and some people might need to be reminded of how special a player he is on offense.
Of course, Lopez was drafted by the Nets in 2008. He has been durable every season except the last one. His offensive game has developed but his rebounding efficiency has regressed.
Lopez had one spectacular game last season against the Dallas Mavs when he scored 38 points in a shocking Nets win. This was maybe my favorite game of the whole season because it showed what the Nets are capable of when D Will and Lopez are playing together. Williams actually shot poorly that game but DeShawn Stevenson made a spectacular defensive play in crunch time to earn the win.
Lopez’ signing will not light the world on fire, like a Dwight Howard trade would have. Still, Lopez is a special offensive player and the Nets should often be unstoppable on offense for years to come. Defense and rebounding are areas that Billy King should focus on when he decides who Lopez’ backup center will be.