Brook Lopez is going to make $61 million over the next four years to play center for the Brooklyn Nets, and whether or not he's actually worth that much, you'd have to admit that it's a pretty good reward for gracefully handling the stress of having had to sit through seemingly endless reports that he was on the verge of being shipped to South Florida as part of a package that would bring Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard north to anchor Mikhail Prokhorov's rebooted franchise.
Right, Brook? The stress of handling those rumors? All that chatter? Remember that?
Lopez, the centerpiece in trade packages for the Orlando Magic's All-Star center, never wavered. [He] wanted to be in Brooklyn, and he was willing to wait for his time to sign a deal and rejoin his teammates. Last week, it finally came. ''It didn't bother me too much because I don't pay attention to media speculation,'' Lopez said Wednesday. ''I read books and comic books. [They] didn't mention Howard too much.''
As Trey Kerby noted at The Basketball Jones, this seems to suggest that Brook doesn't read a ton of Superman, since, well, y'know. But actually, according to an interview he did with ESPN.com's J.A. Adande a couple of years back, Brook fancies himself more a D.C. devotee than a Marvel man, so this clearly means that Brook Lopez is taking subliminal shots at Dwight Howard, which is definitely going to manifest itself in an on-court clash of the titans the likes of which this NBA has never szzzzzzzzzzz.
Lopez's "don't read NBA coverage, just read books" — which, let's be honest, we're probably talking graphic novels here — "and comic books" approach should serve him in good stead over the next several months, so long as nobody illustrates Larry Coon's NBA Salary Cap FAQ at any point this fall. Especially not that dicey 92nd question, about how free agents re-signed by the teams that held their Bird rights are eligible to be traded on Jan. 15 of the year following the re-signing, which keeps the door to Brooklyn's continued pursuit of Howard (should no other team take Kelly Dwyer's advice and go for broke in the interim) wide open through the winter.
But even though the four-year deal doesn't definitively close the book (comic or otherwise) on Brooklyn hanging on to the 7-footer it already has, Lopez views it as proof positive that he's in their long-term plans.
"They signed me," Lopez told reporters at the Wednesday press conference. "That's a very good sign of faith in them."
Not as cool as the superhero-themed free-agency video that his brother Robin Lopez got from the Phoenix Suns, to be sure. But if you can't have that, then yeah, I guess $61 million is a pretty solid gesture.