Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon

Nets focus on securing Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young

Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young and Deron Williams of

Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young and Deron Williams of the Brooklyn Nets react after a basket late in a game against the Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center on Friday, April 3, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

When the free-agency frenzy begins at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, triggering the start of player movement around the NBA, the Nets' attention will remain squarely where it's been the last two months.

Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young, come on down.

In building the roster for the Nets' fourth season in Brooklyn, general manager Billy King repeatedly has said re-signing Lopez and Young remains at the top of the organization's list of priorities, and all indications point to that happening.

Reports have Lopez, who opted out of the final year of a contract scheduled to pay him $16.7 million next season, being offered a maximum deal in the neighborhood of three years and $60 million. Young, scheduled to pocket $10.2 million next season before opting out, reportedly is on tap for a four-year, $48-million pact.

The potential salaries of Lopez and Young, paired with the nearly $46 million owed to Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, have the Nets looking at spending more than $77 million in salary for four players next season.

With early projections of a $67-million salary cap, the Nets would be well over the luxury-tax threshold. That would force them to fill out the majority of their roster with players making the veteran's minimum and leaving them in line to pay the expensive and dreaded repeater tax.

Moving Johnson or Williams is the Nets' only hope of getting some needed cap room and reshaping the roster. The two players' massive contracts and declining play could make it a challenge, but ESPN reported there could be a market for both.

According to ESPN, the Nets recently discussed a trade with the Grizzlies but couldn't come up with all the framework, and talks have cooled. Another ESPN report said Nets executives believe Williams can be unloaded with the idea that a change of environment would reinvigorate him.

Johnson is owed $24.9 million in the final year of his expiring deal. Williams has $43 million remaining in the last two years of his contract, which includes a $22.3-million player option for 2016-17.

Seeing exactly how the Nets' roster takes shape in the coming days and weeks is going to be interesting, and King seemed eager last week to get to this next phase of the offseason.

"This is what I get paid to do," he said. "It's part of the job description. [Draft night] is probably one of the best nights for me because you get a lot of chances to make the team better, and then free agency is the same way."

New York Sports