Bucks center Brook Lopez is in the final year of his contract, which pays him $13.9MM in 2022/23. He could become a free agent this summer, but don’t expect him to land with a new team anytime soon.
“I think there’s a lot of motivation for both sides, both Brook Lopez and the Bucks, either to get an extension done during the season, or to sign a new deal in the offseason,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on NBA Countdown (video link). “Milwaukee wants Brook Lopez to finish his career there. He has loved playing there.”
In addition to leading the NBA in blocked shots per game (2.9), Lopez is also averaging 15.5 points and 5.8 rebounds with an excellent .502/.402/.800 shooting slash line through 20 games (31.1 minutes per night). He was limited to just 13 regular season games in ’21/22 due to a herniated disc which required surgery, but the 34-year-old certainly looks fully healthy again.
Here’s more from the Central:
- Like Lopez, Cavaliers wing Caris LeVert is also on an expiring contract ($18.8MM). Kelsey Russo of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at LeVert’s role with the Cavs, which has already changed multiple times about a quarter of the way through the season. The 28-year-old says it was his idea to become a reserve after opening the year as the starting small forward, and while it’s been challenging when combined with recovering from an ankle sprain, he says he’s doing it for the betterment of the team. “It’s a little difficult,” LeVert said. “But I’m someone who focuses on winning. I’ve made that the most important thing. It is what it is, especially when you talk about being in the NBA and being on a really good team. It takes sacrifice. I think a lot of people don’t really realize that when you’re talking about being a part of a special group. Everybody has to sacrifice a little bit. For me, that’s just what it is this season.”
- As the No. 7 overall pick in the 2020 draft, Killian Hayes faced high expectations entering the NBA. The Pistons guard has mostly struggled offensively during his first three seasons, but he’s played better of late starting in place of the injured Cade Cunningham, and Detroit’s patience with Hayes appears to be paying off, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. Since he entered the starting lineup, Hayes is averaging 11.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.4 steals on .442/.400/.889 shooting in 11 games (29.5 MPG).
- How can the 9-12 Bulls turn their season around? Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic tackles that topic, suggesting that more minutes for rookie first-rounder Dalen Terry would be a good place to start — he has only appeared in 10 games for a total of 33 minutes thus far in ’22/23.