by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

In the end, with the Dwight Howard trade talks having completely fallen apart, the Brooklyn Nets had no choice but to give Brook Lopez his money.

The big fella signed a maximum-level deal, which will keep him in Brooklyn at a cost of $61 million, over the next four seasons (or, at least until January 15th, the earliest date that the Nets can try to trade him away again in the hopes of landing Howard.)

From the Star-Ledger:

Talks between the Nets and Orlando Magic to find a way to trade Howard to the Nets ended today and the Nets moved quickly to lock up Lopez, signing him to a four-year, $60.8 million contract that kills any chance the Nets have of trading for Howard until at least January. That’s when Lopez, a Bird Rights free agent re-signing with his old team, would first be eligible to be traded, according to the CBA.

The Nets were under a deadline to complete a deal for Howard because Lopez, who would have had to agree to a sign-and-trade deal that would have sent him to Orlando to make it happen, had two other teams present him with offer sheets. Had he signed one, the Nets would have matched it and kept him, but then would not have been able to trade the 7-foot center for a year. So the Nets persuaded Lopez and his agent, Arn Tellem, to hold off until 6 p.m. [Wednesday], and gave Orlando that much time to agree to a deal or else they would move on. In getting Lopez under contract, the Nets continued to build their roster for the team’s first season in Brooklyn after 35 seasons in New Jersey.

Congratulations to Lopez on his new monster deal, who can take comfort in his newfound riches once he begins to prepare himself to possibly change addresses all over again a few months from now.