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LOPEZ WANTS TO BE A NETS’ PLAYER FOR A LONG TIME
Mon, 23 Jul 2012 07:26 AM EDT

Brook Lopez would like to stay a member of the Nets for the rest of his career, if that happens or not, is still to be seen.

Lopez, 24 years old, re-signed with the Nets for 4 years and $60 million last week, according to a league source. He’s able to be traded again on Jan. 15. And if Dwight Howard is still with the Orlando Magic at this point, trade rumors may swirl once again.

Except for now, Lopez is happy he got a long term commitment from the only franchise he’s ever known.

“The Nets are the only place I’d like to be,” said Lopez, who was drafted 10th overall by the Nets in 2008. “I wish to be a Net for my complete career.”

Lopez’s name has been discussed in potential blockbuster packages for Howard since last December.

Not that he’s noticed much.

“I don’t read a lot of stuff you men write,” Lopez said. “I read lots of comics and they don’t mention Dwight Howard much.”

Nets Coach Avery Johnson went to Lopez’s basketball camp in New Jersey recently to put his big man’s mind at ease.

“It was really reassuring,” Lopez said. “He wants to build something special here and he wants me to be part of it.”

Johnson recounted: “It was just more to reaffirm that we have a belief in you, and really brace him for what was going to happen. I’ve been calling Brook, ‘Brooklyn,’ so it would really make me look bad for calling him Brooklyn for a year and then he never went to Brooklyn.” Las Vegas odds

Johnson announced the possibility that Lopez may be traded again come Jan. 15 never came up in their discussions.

“Whenever a free agent signs an agreement, I don’t think the possibility of you being traded in Jan ever comes up,” Johnson related. “We’re happy where it worked out where he’s here. He’s clearly drawn some attention from other teams in the free-agency process, but he’s home, he’s with the Nets, and he will be in the beginning lineup (at center) at Barclays Center on opening night.”

Lopez claimed he did not know if he would’ve agreed to a sign-and-trade deal to go to Orlando if a deal was consummated between the Nets and the Orlando Magic.

Has he received any guarantees from the organization that he won’t be dealt?

“They signed me, and like Avery asserted, that’s a very good sign of faith from them,” Lopez responded.

Lopez, who played just 5 games last season because of a foot injury, said he isn’t One hundred percent at the moment, and hasn’t played 5-on-5 yet. He is hoping to be healthy by the beginning of training camp.

Johnson asserted he thinks Lopez is a top-5 center, an assessment Lopez agrees with.

Lopez, who owns a career average of 17.4 points per game over 5 seasons, has long been known for his scoring ability, but his rebounding numbers have suffered since 2010-11. While he didn’t have a number under consideration, Lopez wants to get back to where he was his first 2 years in the NBA, when he averaged over 8 boards per contest.


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