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Eastern Rumors: Lopez, Hawks, Stephenson

The Bucks could be in the mix for Nets center Brook Lopez if he opts out of his contract this summer, according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. Lopez’s strong relationship with former Nets coach and current Bucks coach Jason Kidd could factor in his decision if he enters the market, Woelfel adds. Lopez, who holds a player option of approximately $16.74MM on his contract, is likely to opt out but he’s expected to get a max offer from Brooklyn. Milwaukee finished the season with journeyman Zaza Pachulia as its starting center after buying out Larry Sanders in February.

In other news around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hawks will swap first-round picks with the Nets, allowing Atlanta to move up to the No. 15 overall spot next month, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. The Hawks, who informed the league of their decision on Monday, had the option of swapping first-rounders with Brooklyn as part of the 2012 Joe Johnson trade. The Hawks declined that option last season. Brooklyn moves down to No. 29 as a result of the swap.
  • Lance Stephenson will stay in the Charlotte area over the summer and work with the Hornets coaches to improve his jump shot, Sam Perley of writes. Stephenson wants to prove to the club that he was worth the three-year deal it gave him last summer, Perley continues. Stephenson shot 37.6% from the field and 17.1% on 3-point attempts in his first season with Charlotte. He is due $9MM next season with a team option of just over $9,4MM the following season. “I’m staying here during the offseason and going to have time to spend with the coaches and figure out how I can be successful here,” Stephenson said to Perley. “I’m going to have to come in and figure out how I’m going to be a better shooter. This summer is going to be huge for me [in terms of] getting back into my groove and helping this group.”

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