Suns trade Lopez and Warrick, land Wesley Johnson, pick
The Suns announced Friday they have traded Lopez and forward Hakim Warrick -- along with cash considerations -- to the Hornets, and a 2014 second-round pick (from the Lakers) to the Timberwolves as part of a three-way deal. Phoenix is getting swingman Wesley Johnson as well as a lottery-protected first-round pick and the contracts of Brad Miller and Jerome Dyson.
Besides maybe adding another center to the roster, the Suns are probably done making moves.
"This is just another opportunity for us to move into a new era for Suns basketball," Suns GM Lance Blanks said Friday. "At minimum we're talking about six new players, and maybe seven or eight when it's all said and done."
The pick, which belonged to Minnesota via Memphis, is protected for the next four years, and according to Arizona Sports 620's John Gambadoro, and could turn into a second-round selection and cash should the Grizzlies fail to make the playoffs over the next few seasons. That was the reason the deal was on shaky ground for a bit.
Deal had to be modified because pick Suns are getting via Memphis/Minn could turn into 3 mill & Suns already have received 3 mill from LA— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 27, 2012
The Grizzlies have made the playoffs each of the last two seasons and are regarded as one of the Western Conference's better teams, so the chances of the Suns not getting the pick in 2013 appear to be slim.
Johnson, who was taken fourth overall in the 2010 NBA Draft, has been a disappointment through two years in the NBA. He averaged just 6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game as a starter last season while shooting .398 from the floor (.314 from three-point range).
He is coming off an impressive stint in the Las Vegas Summer League, where he averaged 20.5 points and shot 48.3 percent from the floor.
He entered the league known for being an outstanding athlete, and there's a chance a change of scenery will do him good. At least, that's what Blanks said they're hoping for.
"He's coming in pretty much with a blank slate," Blanks said, noting the team's player development program could be real helpful. "We'll try to work on him as much as possible to come and be the player that we believe he can be."
Of course Lopez, who the Suns are parting with, is heading to New Orleans with a similar mindset. Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said the team wanted to keep their backup center and made a competitive contract offer in hopes of doing just that, but it wasn't enough to convince him to come back.
"I don't think it was a financial decision in any way, shape or form on Robin's part," he said. "It was really the opportunity to start."
Taken 15th overall in the 2008 draft out of Stanford, Lopez has career averages of 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game. He's battled injuries and inconsistency since coming to the NBA, and there are some who believe he has peaked as a player.
Warrick, on the other hand, has been underwhelming since being acquired by the Suns prior to the 2011 season. He averaged just 6.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in 35 contests last season.
- Jon Barry, NBA Analyst - Friday May 24Barry expects a physical match up between the Heat & Pacers in Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference
- Dan Majerle, Suns legend & GCU coach - Thursday May 23Thunder Dan calls in to argue with Doug about last night's Pacers-Heat game
- Jared Dudley, Suns forward - Tuesday May 21Dudley talks NBA Playoffs and Suns coaching search with Doug & Wolf
- Alvin Gentry, former Suns head coach - Tuesday May 14Gentry talks to Doug & Wolf about the NBA Playoffs, the Suns coaching search and his future
- Denise McDonough, Ryan McDonough's mom - Friday May 10Mrs. McDonough talks to Doug & Wolf about raising the new Suns GM