Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young appear likely to return to the Brooklyn Nets next year with new contracts signed in the early days of the NBA free-agency period, according to ESPN's Marc Stein and Mike Mazzeo.
Sources tell the ESPN reporters that Lopez is estimated to receive a three-year contract in the $60 million range while Young may attract a four-year deal worth $50 million. The two deals would put the Nets near the $100 million payroll for the 2015–2016 season. The team may explore trading away Joe Johnson or Jarrett Jack with hopes of alleviating their cap space.
Lopez, 27, has spent every year of his career with the Nets since being drafted tenth overall in the first round of the 2008 NBA draft. Last season, Lopez played in 72 games, starting just 44 due to injuries. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game last season.
Young, 27, joined the Nets at the trade deadline in a deal that sent Kevin Garnett back to Minnesota. In his 28 games with the Nets, Young averaged 13.8 points while shooting 49.5% from the floor.
Lopez and Young elected to opt out of their contracts on June 26. Mason Plumlee was traded to the Portland Trailblazers from the Nets on draft night in exchange for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Steve Blake. The move was an encouraging sign of the Nets' intent to bring back Lopez as their big man.
Last season, the Nets finished 38-44 for third place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. They lost in opening round of the playoffs in six games to the Atlanta Hawks.
Teams can begin negotiating with free agents on July 1, but contracts can not be consummated until July 9.
- Christopher Chavez