Notebook: Brook Lopez feels sore but good

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- Brook Lopez said he felt “a little sore” but good the day after his return.

Lopez had 18 points, six rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes during Monday’s 116-85 win over the Thunder. It was Lopez’s first game since breaking his foot on Dec. 20 at Philadelphia.

Lopez said he felt good on Tuesday and that he doesn’t have to take things day to day as far as how his surgically-repaired foot feels.

The 7-footer said he is back.

“That is why we took a few extra days just to make sure,” Lopez said. “Now that I am back on the floor, I am playing, I am one of the guys.”

Net balance: When talking about his team’s decision in recent months to not re-sign Paul Pierce and add more younger talent to develop, owner Mikhail Prokhorov repeatedly cited the need for a balance of veterans and youngsters.

It was as if this was the Nets’ new mantra after a year ago saying they were all in to win now after mortgaging the future and sending three first-round picks for Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

When asked about his reaction to not re-signing Pierce, Prokhorov mentioned the Nets’ new approach.

“I think Paul Pierce is a great player but we think like [we need] some kind of a balance,” Prokhorov said on Monday. “We need very strong, experienced players but we need to leave some space for the youngsters. So now we keep that balance.”

The Nets added Bojan Bogdanovic and Sergey Karasev while also acquiring second-round picks to take Markel Brown and Cory Jefferson. The average age of those four is 22.

While the core of the team remains older with vets like Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams leading the way, the Nets have some more youth and athleticism to develop that they didn’t really have a season ago.

“I think it’s important,” Williams said of having a mix of young and old. “You need that youth, those young legs to get up and down the court, to provide energy, depth. And of course you need veterans to win.”

“Even though Bogie is a rookie, he’s still 25 so he’s not a young guy,” Williams later added. “He’s been playing basketball at a high level for years. So we still have a lot of experience out there. Our young guys are coming along. We haven’t seen much of them but they’ll be ready to play.”