NBA stars keeping overseas options open: Lopez

Brooklyn Nets star Brook Lopez believes NBA players are looking much closer at finishing their careers in international leagues.

Lopez, the starting centre for the Nets, was asked during a conference call with NBA Asia reporters about his thoughts on players' moving overseas at the end of their careers.

He said players across the league wanted the chance to travel the world and play in new countries so they were looking closer at what was available.

In the past few years veteran NBA stars like Stephon Marbury and more recently Gilbert Arenas have moved to China on lucrative deals while during the NBA lockout players like JR Smith, Wilson Chandler and Boomers guard Patty Mills also played in China while Nets superstar Deron Williams played in Turkey.

The NBL has also had a brush with NBA level players this season with former No.6 NBA draft pick Jonny Flynn joining Melbourne Tigers.

Lopez said he would never count out playing overseas when his time in the NBA came to an end. “It's definitely a possibility,” he said. “I know a lot of players enjoy travelling overseas, especially to the east in Asia. They really enjoy playing the international style of basketball. I know Deron enjoyed himself in Turkey and I think it's definitely something I don't want to count out.”

Lopez, who is recovering from a foot injury, was also asked about the Nets' chances this season following their 11-6 start to the 2012-13 campaign.

“We picked up on each other's games very quickly in the off-season and we got to the regular season and we were just quickening,” Lopez said. “We've been improving each and every game and I think the sky is the limit for us.”

He also said the Nets were good enough to compete with NBA champions Miami Heat and other powerhouse Eastern conference teams like New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. “I think we definitely have achieved that right now and I think we're in a good position to do that,” he said. “I think we just have to keep playing the way we've been playing and keep getting better.”

The Nets moved to Brooklyn from New Jersey in the off-season and play at the newly opened Barclays Centre. “You know it's very unique from top to bottom, it's just different from every other arena,” Lopez said.

“It's top of the line, the best of the best in the NBA and I think fans can enter it knowing that they're going to get the best of the best when they watch whatever performance they're going to see.”

Lopez said the stadium offered fans a unique game experience. “Its' just a lot of the little things when it comes to that,” he said. “The court, the Brooklyn Nets seaming, we have our own herringbone pattern on the floor which is the first and only in the league, the way the lighting is set up, the theatre lighting is unique to us, the whole black and white colour scheme and the oculus on the outside of the Barclays Centre. It's really the class of the league.”

Lopez said the move had also suited the Nets players as the team had moved all its operations to Brooklyn. “I think it's been great for the players,” he said. “We've really enjoyed the atmosphere Brooklyn's created, the buzz it's created and we've enjoyed the fan base out here.

“They're huge supporters of the team and especially at games they bring a lot of energy and they definitely enjoy having us here.”

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