Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lopez, Young Happy to Stay with Nets

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lopez, Young Happy to Stay with Nets

Article excerpt

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Nets have spent much of the past five years trying to send Brook Lopez somewhere else.

But when Lopez got the chance to take his talents away from Brooklyn -- which would have been a devastating blow to the only NBA team he's ever known -- he didn't consider it. Not even when his former coach, Jason Kidd, called to recruit him to the Bucks.

"Through negotiations I made it clear that this was where I wanted to be," Lopez told the media in Brooklyn on Thursday. "It's been that way as long as I've been here. ... There weren't really any other serious destinations, I suppose. "

Lopez agreed to re-sign with the Nets in the first hours of free agency. And on Thursday, the first day players could put pen to paper, Lopez signed his three-year, $60 million deal.

Lopez, the Nets' most loyal player, is also their unquestioned franchise player.

"Getting him re-signed was huge," coach Lionel Hollins said at Orlando Summer League. "He's a great offensive player. He's growing.

"He did a lot of stuff that we asked of him in that second part of the season after the All-Star game," Hollins said. "In 30 games, we went 17-13 and Brook was a big part of that. He had a huge stretch, and we're looking to grow with that."

Before free agency started, general manager Billy King said his top priority was to retain Lopez and Thaddeus Young, both 27. Young arrived in the Kevin Garnett trade from Minnesota in February and combined with Lopez for the team's best stretch of basketball.

Young never seriously considered leaving the Nets. His family enjoys living in the New York area, and he likes the idea of being able to build off the finishing stretch of last season, when the Nets were one of the best teams in the East.

"We think that we can help this team potentially get to a championship one day," Young said. "It'll take some time, but there's plenty of time right now."

Young's statement was one of the few reminders of the bold course owner Mikhail Prokhorov charted after buying the team in 2010. …

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