Brook Lopez Reportedly Closing in on Maximum Contract with Brooklyn Nets

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJuly 11, 2012

The Brooklyn Nets and Brook Lopez have reportedly come to terms.

Update: July 11 at 5:55 p.m. ET by Sam Quinn

According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski via Twitter, a contract has been inked:

Brooklyn has reached agreement on a 4-year, $61 million max deal with Brook Lopez, league source tells Y! Sports.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 11, 2012

This news comes on the heels of ESPN's Ric Bucher reporting that talks between the Nets and Orlando Magic had come to an end.

Lopez broke his right foot prior to last season, causing the former Stanford Cardinal to miss the first 32 games of the lockout-shortened season. Five games after his return, Lopez sprained his right ankle and was shut down for the remainder of the 2011-12 campaign.

The seven-footer has averaged 17.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game since being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2008 NBA draft.

Lopez gives the Nets a viable offensive option for Deron Williams to look for in the paint for the next four years, as well as a complementary player to Joe Johnson's outside game.

---End of Update---

In what could be considered a sign that the Brooklyn Nets are ready to move on from acquiring Dwight Howard, the team is reportedly laying the groundwork for a new maximum contract for Brook Lopez.

Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported hearing the following from league sources, adding: 

Nets president Billy King and Lopez’s agent, Arn Tellem, are finalizing the length of the deal—four years for $58 million, or five years for $78 million—and ironing out protections on the back end to account for a right foot that Lopez broke twice in the past year.

Wojnarowski added that King is headed to Los Angeles on Wednesday to work on finalizing this deal, and if pen hits paper, the nauseating saga of Dwight Howard-Brooklyn Nets will finally be able to be put safely out to pasture. 

It is impossible to imagine the Nets putting together a trade package anywhere near enticing enough to land Howard without Lopez, and the Nets will not be allowed to trade Lopez until December once this deal is finalized. Let's just hope Howard has found a new home by December so we don't have to start this all over again. 

Lost in all of the Howard insanity is the fact that Lopez is an excellent player. And if he is healthy, the Nets are going to have the low-post scoring threat they need.

The 24-year-old Lopez, who only played in five games last year, has averaged 17.4 points per game over his four-year career, with a high of 20.4 in 2010-'11. 

Lopez struggled mightily with a foot injury last year, missing all but five games, and there are concerns it could be a future problem—but he had been extremely durable prior to that. He played in a full 82 games in each of his first three seasons. 

Lopez is not without his weaknesses, though. He is not a good defender and is a poor rebounder, despite being a seven-footer. But in a league that is starved for centers, a max deal is not bad business.