Robin Lopez, Aaron Brooks receive qualifying offers from Suns

Phoenix has officially thrown qualifying offers to reserve center Robin Lopez and point guard Aaron Brooks, effectively making the duo restricted free agents, the Suns announced Thursday. The team had until June 30 to make the offers and keep their right of first refusal, giving Phoenix the ability to match any contract offers when the free agency period begins Sunday.

In regards to Lopez, the move is in accordance with what President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby alluded to after the season, when he said Phoenix would attempt to match other teams’ offers. Lopez’s qualifying offer is for a hair over $4 million.

That could be a hard thing to do if teams covet the 7-footer’s rim protecting abilities enough that he becomes overpaid in terms of his statistical output. His averages in 2011-12 dropped to 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in just 14 minutes played while he backed up starter Marcin Gortat.

The Suns’ interest in Brooks isn’t surprising either.

In an act of relationship-building, General Manager Lance Blanks visited Brooks (whose qualifying offer is for just under $3 million) during the offseason while the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2009-10 played for the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association. After the 2011 trade deadline that saw the Suns ship out Goran Dragic and a first-rounder for Brooks, the 6-foot, 160-pound guard averaged 9.6 points and 4.2 assists in nearly 19 minutes per game backing up Steve Nash.

Brooks’ future is more uncertain considering the Suns will have to court Nash when the free agency period begins.

For the time being, Sebastian Telfair remains as the only lock at point guard for Phoenix’s roster, so keeping Brooks as an option can’t hurt.

Tags: Aaron Brooks Robin Lopez

  • .

    Darn… Phoenix should have worked out Anthony Davis, you know, “just in case” his stock fell.

  • Scott

    Would this sort of occasion be a good time to also mention cap holds, and the Suns’ current cap? Or is it too complicated?

    I think a story from early last season on Aaron Brooks mentioned that the Suns sacrificed some of their cap to keep the rights to him, but IIRC it was unclear what the figures were and what, if any, repercussions this move may have caused.

    • Michael Schwartz

      @Scott Well, first off see our salary page for updated salary information. I have the Suns at around $30 million of committed salary for next season before cap holds right now.

      It wasn’t that the Suns sacrificed cap space to keep Brooks but that they extended this same qualifying offer to him last season, which served as a cap hold. They could have renounced his rights if they needed the space for whatever reason but then obviously he wouldn’t be under their control anymore.

      It’s a bit speculative to discuss all the cap holds and their implications at this point. According to ShamSports, Nash has a $17.5 mil cap hold (150 percent his salary) and Hill just under $10 mil so they will probably have to make a decision on those guys fairly quickly if they want to be bring in another big fish.

  • Scott

    @Michael -

    Thanks for responding, but I confess I’m totally lost on this cap hold stuff and the implications. :(