Good Evening
Good Evening

Nets GM Billy King confident Brook Lopez, Thaddeus Young will return

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

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Although Thaddeus Young officially informed the Nets on Monday that he's opting out of the final year of his contract and Brook Lopez could be leaning in the same direction, general manager Billy King's belief still hasn't changed much.

Nearly seven weeks after King indicated that he felt good about the Nets' chances of re-signing Young and Lopez, two-thirds of their starting front line, King's conviction essentially remained the same after the team's final pre-draft workout at its training facility.

"I'm pretty confident," King said. "We have some tools in our favor to keep them."

Asked if that's because the Nets hold the "Bird Rights" of each player, which allows them to pay more than any other team can offer, King played coy.

"We have some tools in our favor," he said.

Young was scheduled to pocket $10.2 million in the final year of his deal and had until June 30 to opt out. Lopez, who also must make a decision by that date, is due to collect $16.7 million next season. The expectation is that he'll also opt out, given the attention he would command on the open market after turning in an impressive, relatively healthy 2014-15 season.

Lopez recently was spotted hoisting jumpers at the Nets' facility, and although that could be viewed as a sign that he will re-sign, nothing is ever set in stone in the tricky free-agency game.

King said he doesn't have any real indication which way Lopez is leaning.

"Nah, nah. Not really," he said. "He's been around. He's been working out. So that's always a plus. He's been here in the gym, so it's always good when guys are working out, if they are going to be free agents or not. You like to have them in your gym. If they are not around, you get more nervous."

Lopez has been trade bait for the last few seasons and came close to getting dealt at the deadline in February. Now he holds all the cards for the first time and can make the Nets sweat.

King isn't worried, however, about Lopez harboring any ill feelings.

"Not really," said King, who wouldn't respond when asked if he believes Lopez is a max-contract player. "I think throughout the process, I've been pretty transparent with Brook my five years being here with him. So I am not that concerned about that."

King said the Nets can't begin negotiating new contracts with Lopez and Young until free agency begins at 12:01 a.m. on July 1.

They have projected possible scenarios and sequences to be fully prepared for how things shake out when that window fully opens. Still, the Nets' roster construction in yet another important offseason for them hinges on what happens with Lopez and Young.

"I've had conversations with Brook and Thaddeus and [know] what they like," King said. "I know them as people. I've known Thaddeus, I drafted him in Philadelphia. So I do know what he [is like] as a person, what he looks for. Throughout the year, we talked about style of play, things that they are looking for. Same thing with Brook, having been here with him for now five years.

" . . . The financial part, that part will always take care of itself."

Notes ... quotes: King said the Nets extended a qualifying offer to Mirza Teletovic, making the forward a restricted free agent.

New York Sports