Coming off his best season with the Milwaukee Bucks, which included a second-place finish in the Defensive Player of the Year vote, Brook Lopez will enter NBA free agency this off-season.
While it will not be cheap to keep him, the Bucks would be foolish to let Lopez walk for nothing in free agency. It would be hard to find a center that fits in better with this core that the Bucks could realistically get with their depleted assets and spending money. Still, it’s not a guarantee that the big man returns to Milwaukee, as other teams are looking to get their hands on him as well.
According to The Athletic’s Kelly Iko (Subscription required), the Houston Rockets have their eyes on Lopez this off-season, among a plethora of other high-profile soon-to-be free agents.
NBA Rumors: A young team may look to steal Brook Lopez from the Bucks
It’s no surprise that Lopez will be on Houston’s radar. They have a significant amount of cap space to utilize this off-season, and a big chunk of that will likely go toward adding veteran talent to put them in a position to contend next season. Iko notes that James Harden is the franchise’s primary target in free agency, so it’s clear that this team is willing to go all-in on contending next season. Potentially coming away with Harden and Lopez, in addition to drafting a quality player with the fourth overall pick in the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft, would undoubtedly be a significant boost.
Lopez is not the only Buck that the Rockets have been linked to leading up to NBA free agency, as Khris Middleton is also reportedly a player they are monitoring. According to Yahoo! Sports’ insider Jake Fischer, Middleton was a name prominently brought up throughout the team’s coaching search as a possible free agent addition before they hired Ime Udoka. Again, it makes sense for the Rockets to be exploring avenues to bring in a proven veteran and former All-Star.
The Rockets could prove to be troublesome for the Bucks this off-season. Ultimately, it will come down to if the Bucks are willing to pay up for these two key cogs, as the Rockets will likely be all over the duo.
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