Nets Nearing Max Contract With Brook Lopez

4:34pm: Lopez is still considering signing Charlotte's four-year offer sheet, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Wojnarowski says the Nets will match any offer sheet Lopez signs, but matching an offer sheet would prevent Brooklyn from trading Lopez for a full year (Twitter links). It looks to me as if Lopez is seeking a little leverage with the Nets, perhaps hoping to increase his fifth-year guarantee.

2:59pm: With trade talks for Dwight Howard dead, the Nets are now expected to finalize a contract with Lopez, tweets's Sam Amick.

2:22pm: The Nets are warding off the Bobcats' advances toward Lopez and are close to finalizing a five-year, $78MM deal for the center, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Wojnarowski's report seems to suggest that the fifth year of the contract would not be fully guaranteed, but would still ensure that Lopez would make more than he could with another team.

12:56pm: Lopez is weighing a maximum offer sheet from another team, according to Howard Beck of the New York Times. Marc Stein of tweets that the Trail Blazers and Bobcats have both indicated to Lopez that they're willing to sign him to a four-year max offer sheet as soon as today.

12:43pm: The Nets have agreed to give Lopez four fully-guaranteed, max-salary years, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The two sides are still talking about a possible fifth year — since the Nets are the only team that can offer that fifth year, they can be more flexibile with the guarantee. The Nets' willingness to offer a four-year, max-salary deal means another team can't top Brooklyn's proposal in an offer sheet (all Twitter links).

WEDNESDAY, 12:13am: It's not out of the realm of possibility that Lopez could sign an offer sheet with another team, according to Wojnarowski. His report cites the Bobcats as a team with interest in Lopez on a max deal. An offer sheet would mean Lopez could avoid any partial guarantees based on games played the Nets might want in the contract, and would mean he couldn't be included in a sign-and-trade deal.

TUESDAY, 10:59pm: Lopez is close to reaching an agreement on a maximum contract with the Nets, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The two sides are negotiating the length of the contract, as Lopez can sign for four years and $58MM or five years and $78MM. 

1:44pm: While the Nets continue to try to find a way to obtain Dwight Howard, the team's primary trade chip is just a few hours away from being able to sign offer sheets with rival clubs. In case they aren't able to acquire Howard, the Nets have been negotiating a contract extension with Brook Lopez and could complete a deal within the next 48 hours or so, says Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter).

Signing Lopez to a new contract would mean that the Nets couldn't trade him for Howard or anyone else until January 15th. While Brooklyn would probably prefer to maintain the flexibility to complete a sign-and-trade involving their 24-year-old center, the end of the moratorium means the team could have to turn to Plan B. If Lopez were to sign an offer sheet with another team, the Nets could only match the offer or let him walk, and wouldn't be able to include him in a sign-and-trade deal.

With Howard-centric rumors dominating most of the Lopez news we've heard so far this July, there hasn't been much reported interest in Lopez from other clubs. But you'd have to think that a team in search of size, whether that's the Rockets, Trail Blazers, or another club, could make life difficult for Brooklyn by pursuing Lopez, a scenario the Nets would rather avoid.


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