Robin Lopez was drafted 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 2008. He hasn’t been horrible in Phoenix, but he hasn’t looked like a guy taken 15th overall either. Maybe some of that was the system. Maybe he’s been developing as a player. Maybe he’s not that good. We’ll find out shortly.
Lopez was dealt yesterday in a three-team deal that landed him to New Orleans. The idea is that Lopez will now start at center for the Hornets, alongside Anthony Davis who’s slotted to play Power Forward. Amongst the compensation the Suns received for Lopez is a first-round draft pick.
Here’s the details on Wednesday’s trade via the AP: The Hornets, Suns and Timberwolves have agreed to a multiplayer trade sending 7-foot center Robin Lopez and forward Hakim Warrick from Phoenix to New Orleans, while moving forward Wesley Johnson and a first-round draft pick from Minnesota to Phoenix, a person familiar with the deal said.
The person told The Associated Press about the trade on condition of anonymity Wednesday because it has not been announced pending the completion of some routine logistical matters.
The deal also sends guard Jerome Dyson and retiring center Brad Miller’s $5.1 million contract from New Orleans to Minnesota, allowing the Timberwolves to clear space under the NBA’s salary cap as they pursue free agents. Minnesota also will receive two second-round draft picks from New Orleans, while the Hornets will receive cash.
Robin Lopez only averaged 5 points and 3 rebounds over 14 minutes per game last season. He is seven-feet tall though, was healthy enough to play in 64-games last year, and can get up and down the floor. Size costs money in this League these day’s too, just ask Omer Asik. You don’t give up on a seven-footer who can run the floor and stays healthy unless you’re sure you can replace him with something better. If the Suns can turn the 1st round pick they received into something like that, they win. If they don’t?
Simply projecting Lopez’s numbers last season out to 28 minutes per game you end up with 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game. That’s probably what New Orleans is hoping for. Maybe there’s even a chance that his numbers increase with the attention that Anthony Davis will be garnering on the block opposite Lopez. It’s possible. It’s also possible that Jason Smith beats Robin out though too, or they end up starting Davis and Ryan Anderson instead. If that’s the case, this might be the last time somebody trades for Robin Lopez thinking he’s a starter.