Brooklyn Boro

No place like home for Lopez, Young

Free-Agent Tandem Reportedly Set to Stay in Brooklyn

July 1, 2015 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Free agent big men Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young have reportedly both agreed to return to the Brooklyn Nets after signing lucrative deals with our borough’s NBA franchise. AP Photo
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That didn’t take long, nor was it expected to.

Free agent big men Brook Lopez and Thaddeus Young have reportedly both agreed to remain with the Brooklyn Nets, signing a pair of lucrative deals that make them the foundation players for our borough’s NBA franchise going forward.

Lopez, a career Net who was selected by the then-New Jersey based franchise with the 10th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, will net $60 million over the next three seasons, according to various print and internet reports.

Young, acquired by Brooklyn general manager Billy King prior to last February’s trade deadline in exchange for future Hall of Fame power forward Kevin Garnett, is expected to receive $50 across the next four seasons.

Neither of these moves, which can’t officially be put on the books until July 9, as per NBA free-agency guidelines, comes as a surprise to Brooklyn hoops fanatics.

King intimated early and often that bringing the inside tandem back into the fold was the franchise’s top priority this offseason.

Now that the Nets have apparently secured their services, Lopez and Young will be relied upon to produce the way they did during last season’s stretch run toward the playoffs.

Lopez, hampered by severe foot and ankle issues during two of the previous three seasons, played 72 games in 2014-15, averaging 17.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game to re-establish himself as one of the leading centers in the NBA.

Young logged 28 games with the Nets after coming over from Minnesota, and put up 13.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest, providing Lopez with a proficient partner inside the paint.

The duo combined to help Brooklyn to a strong 11-5 finish down the stretch, nosing out four teams for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference before the Nets were ousted by top-seeded Atlanta in the opening round.

King confessed that Brooklyn would not have reached the postseason for the first time in its three seasons here if not for Lopez’s dominant performance during that stretch.

Young, a slashing power forward, fits into the mold of interior toughness head coach Lionel Hollins wants his team to project as it tries to contend for an Atlantic Division title in 2015-16.

Though the Nets are restricted from commenting on the moves until later next week, King is doubtlessly relieved that his main order of business has been completed.

That leaves the GM to try to move one of his high-priced guards, either Joe Johnson (owed $25 million next season) or Deron Williams ($43 million for the next two years), in an attempt to help the Nets avoid paying a massive luxury tax bill for the third consecutive campaign.

That will be a much taller task than bringing back his two big men, both of whom will receive more money from the Nets than they would have likely been offered on the open market.

Johnson, whose massive contract expires following next season, is still the more eligible candidate for a potential deal, while Williams, who is three years into a five-year, $98 million pact, appears locked into Hollins’ roster until at least next offseason.

***

The Nets will be sharing the Barclays Center with the New York Islanders next season, and Brooklyn’s first-ever NHL team made some free agency news of its own Wednesday morning.

Islanders general manager Garth Snow announced that the team had agreed to terms on a two-year contract with goaltender Thomas Greiss, providing starting netminder Jaroslav Halak with a solid back-up.

Greiss appeared in 20 games last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, posting a 9-6-3 record with a .908 save percentage and a 2.59 goals-against average.

The Fussen, Germany native played 25 games the previous season with the Phoenix Coyotes.

The San Jose Sharks selected Greiss in the third round (94th overall) of the 2004 National Hockey League Draft.

In 89 career NHL games with San Jose, Phoenix and Pittsburgh, he’s recorded a 36-30-11 record with a .913 save percentage and a 2.47 goals-against average.

Greiss also appeared in one playoff game with the Sharks in 2010. The 6’1, 220-pound netminder has appeared in 142 American Hockey League games with the Worcester Sharks.

On the international stage, Greiss represented Germany at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics, the 2010 World Championships and the 2004, 2005 and 2006 World Junior Championships.

The Islanders will officially kick off their historic first season in Brooklyn on Oct. 9 in their home opener against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

They will also play three exhibition contests at Barclays prior to the regular season, beginning with a Sept. 21 game against the visiting Philadelphia Flyers.

The Islanders have split their first two exhibition games in Brooklyn, both against the New Jersey Devils, including last September’s dramatic shootout victory.

***

After winning seven of their first 10 games, the McNamara Division-leading Brooklyn Cyclones suffered a tough 3-2 loss in Auburn on Tuesday night.

Second baseman Vincent Siena, the Mets’ 14th-round pick out of the University of Connecticut in last month’s MLB Draft, went 3-for-4 with a run scored to boost his batting average to .405 (17-for-42) as the Baby Bums (7-4) had their season-high three game winning streak snapped.

Brooklyn starter Kevin Canelon yielded two runs and three hits over five solid innings in his second outing of the summer, but reliever Jose Celas took the loss after giving up the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth.

The Cyclones held a half-game lead over second-place Staten Island entering Wednesday night’s scheduled contest at Hudson Valley.

Mount Sinai, N.Y., native Tyler Badamo was tabbed to make his third start of the young season against the Renegades, still seeking his first win despite posting a 2.84 ERA with 10 strikeouts in his first two appearances.

Brooklyn will return home to MCU Park on Thursday evening for Back to the Future Night, as the first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a 1.21 GigaWatts Jersey.


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