Tuesday March 31st, 2015

Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins says he would like center Brook Lopez back with the team next season.


Lopez can become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he waives his $16.8 million player option for next season. Brooklyn owns Lopez's Bird Rights, meaning it can offer him a more lucrative contract than any other team should he decide to opt out of his contract.

When Hollins was asked repeatedly about his desire to have Lopez available next season, he gave an emphatic answer.

“I just said I want him back. How many damn times do I have to say that? Damn," Hollins said to the New York Daily News. "I want him back. I want him back. Everybody, I want him back. But it's still his call."

Lopez, who was involved in trade talks earlier this season, is averaging 16.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 62 games this season for Brooklyn (32-40), who have won three games in a row.

DOLLINGER: NBA Power Rankings

The Nets have an $88 million payroll for the 2014-15, while the luxury tax threshold for next season is expected to be about $81 million.

"[Lopez coming back next season] is out of my control," Hollins added. "I can say I want him back all I want. If some team's offering him $25 million a year, and we say as an organization [that] they don't want to pay, then it's not my call.”

On Monday, Lopez was named the Eastern Conference’s Player of the week, after averaging 28.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in his last four games.

Brooklyn sits in ninth place in the East, despite having the same record as the Boston Celitcs, who own the tiebreaker over the Nets.

- Scooby Axson

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