NEW YORK (AP) Brook Lopez has been with the Nets his whole career and didn’t want to look anywhere else.
Thaddeus Young has been here just a few months and felt the same way.
Lopez and Young said Thursday they both quickly committed to re-sign with Brooklyn, wanting to stay together after they played well down the stretch in leading the Nets into the playoffs last season.
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Lopez has been a Net for seven seasons, dating to their time in New Jersey. Though the team has considered trading him on multiple occasions, he has often said he wanted to stay.
”I was pretty confident on my end that I wanted to be here,” he said. ”There weren’t really any other serious destinations, I suppose. We obviously worked something out. I think we’re committed to each other.”
The 27-year-old center averaged 19.7 points and 9.2 rebounds after the All-Star break, which is about the time Young arrived in a trade from Minnesota. Lopez went on to win consecutive Eastern Conference player of the week honors late in the season as the Nets recovered from a largely disappointing season to reach the postseason.
The trade that sent Kevin Garnett to the Timberwolves landed Young, a former Philadelphia 76er, back in the East, and he and his family quickly determined that’s where they wanted to remain.
”My wife and kids, they love it here, so the best thing for me was just to try to get something worked out as soon as possible somewhere,” the forward said. ”All we had to do was find a new place to stay.”
Lopez and Young were joined at a Barclays Center news conference by newcomers Thomas Robinson and Shane Larkin. General manager Billy King said he called both players shortly after free agency opened on July 1 as he looked for youth and athleticism that the team sorely needs.
”You saw throughout the playoffs people were putting their best players on the floor, and that’s where we have to be in the position to do that,” King said. ”If it’s putting three guards out there, two point guards out there, it’s basketball. Last year we didn’t have the ability to match up with a lot of teams when they went smaller and now we have that ability.”
Larkin played last season for the New York Knicks and could have a larger role if the Nets are able to trade either Deron Williams or Joe Johnson to trim their payroll. Robinson was nearly a Net last season, but the 76ers claimed him off waivers just before the Nets were able to sign him.
But the key to the offense will likely remain Lopez, who showed last season he was fully recovered from a series of foot injuries. He would’ve had interest elsewhere – he said he had heard from Bucks coach Jason Kidd, who coached him two seasons ago in Brooklyn – but chose a three-year deal with the Nets that would pay him about $60 million and place him across town from twin brother Robin, who signed with the Knicks.
”I think the team can be much better than we were at the end of the season last year,” Brook Lopez said. ”We expect a lot from ourselves. I’ve been talking to Thad a lot this offseason, we’re expecting a lot from each other in regards to leadership and performance on the court.”
The Nets also signed forward/center Willie Reed, who averaged 16.4 points and 12.2 rebounds last season in the NBA Development League. King said Thursday the team wanted additional size.