This is a big season for Brook Lopez
The Milwaukee Bucks hope that a healthy roster this season will bring the team back to where they were two years ago. The team hasn’t changed much of its core from last season. Overall, the Bucks enjoyed success for most of last year. But they couldn’t get past the Brooklyn Nets in the second round. A healthy roster will be key this season for a long run next summer in the playoffs. Brook Lopez being 100 percent this season should benefit Bucks’ chances.
Lopez missed substantial time last season with a back injury that required surgery. He was back in time for the playoffs but didn’t seem like his usual self in all games. This season is a big one for the 34-year-old center. Lopez will be an unrestricted free agent next season.
If Lopez is pressured to have a massive year for the Bucks, he doesn’t appear to show it. According to Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Lopez said in a press conference this week that he wasn’t even aware of his contract status with the Bucks. His comment seemed a little tongue-in-cheek.
“Uh, I wasn’t exactly aware this was a contract year,” Lopez said Tuesday. “I didn’t know last year, like, I didn’t know what year, what part of the deal it was or anything like that. That’s not who I am. I’m going to be the same player whatever year it is, regardless of all that stuff.”
Lopez needs to play like a contract is on the line
Lopez was a significant piece of the Bucks championship team. But the aging center is coming off a severe injury. The Bucks will have to gauge how much Lopez’s value to the team will be in the next few years. Lopez’s minutes per game declined nearly five minutes last season from the 2020-21 season. Twenty-two minutes a game isn’t a lot for someone making $14 million this year, according to spotrac.