- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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Brook Lopez did what most NBA players involved in trade rumors do: he downplayed them.
“I don’t read a lot,” the 23-year-old Nets center said on Friday after his team’s first practice of training camp. “It comes with the business. I just ignore it. I’m here to play basketball. I’m very proud to be part of this organization, and I’d like to continue to be part of it.”
How long Lopez continues to be a Net, however, remains to be seen. He’s currently being mentioned as the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade that would send Orlando superstar Dwight Howard to New Jersey. Lopez says he hasn’t spoken with GM Billy King about his future with the organization.
“Nothing you guys would wanna know about,” he joked.
Point guard Deron Williams did have a conversation with Lopez, though.
“I told him it was good to see him here,” Williams said. “Brook doesn’t get fazed too easily. I talked to him and he doesn’t seem like it’s gonna be a problem. He’s working hard. He’s in great shape, and we’re excited about him being a good player for us.”
Lopez was asked about potentially moving from center to power forward if he stays with the Nets.
“It’s a transition I’m comfortable making if it comes to that,” Lopez said. “I’ll definitely cooperate.”
During the offseason, Lopez, his twin brother, Robin, and his older brother all went to workout with Rockets Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon.
“I learned a lot that I’ll be able to bring back and add to my game,” Lopez said.
Coach Avery Johnson mentioned to the media that Lopez was “fired up” on the court.
“No question,” Lopez said. “I’m glad to be back and get this started.”
Lopez averaged a team-high 20.3 points per game last season. But he ranked 65th out of 67 centers in defensive rebound rate, and grabbed just six boards per contest overall. His defense was also suspect at times -- especially in high pick-and-roll situations.
Much of those struggles -- especially in rebounding -- could be the result of Lopez battling a case of mononucleosis and later a calcium deposit forming on his upper right arm. Lopez had surgery to remove the calcium deposit in the offseason. During his three-year career, Lopez has played 246 out of a possible 246 games.
“Knock on wood there’s nothing bothering my right arm right now,” Lopez said.
Lopez has been involved trade rumors before. He’s used to it. Still, he says, it can weigh players.
“It’s tough,” Lopez said. “We have some strong-minded players, but it does dwell, especially for the duration that they were going through it.”