Phoenix Suns set to acquire Wesley Johnson, pick for Robin Lopez, Hakim Warrick?

Per Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski:

I’ll have a more detailed analysis later tonight, but this would be an incredible trade for the Suns. They would bolster their wing depth with an underwhelming former No. 4 pick whose option for 2013-14 they could always choose to decline, dump a worthless contract in Warrick and add another first-round pick. This is much better value than I thought the Suns would ever receive for Lopez so it almost feels like something is missing. If not, kudos to the front office.

Tags: Hakim Warrick Robin Lopez Wesley Johnson

  • Animan

    This… this… is beautiful.

  • Tony


    this would be an incredible trade for the Suns? Am I missing something…, the Suns would receive a bench player in Johnson and one probably middle to later round draft pick in exchange for a young and athletic center. How is this a good deal for the Suns? Please elaborate. Is Wesley Johnson a better player than his statistics indicate?

  • Charleston

    Pretty much , Phoenix has the best part of the deal.
    Dragic – Brown – Beasley – Scola – Gortat
    Marshall/Telfair – Johnson – Dudley – Morris – Frye
    This team WILL shock the west next season, i promise you that.

  • Mac

    We’re gonna have to get a backup 5 till Jan then?

  • cha cha cha

    is it really Jan. for Frye? i read yesterday that he was cleared for shooting. is he really 5-6 months away?

  • Gold Star for Robot Boy

    BIGS: Gortat, Frye, Morris, Scola. Tucker. (Hollinger says Beasley is a better 4 than a 3, so I guess he could go here, too.)
    WINGS: Beasley, Brown, Dudley, Johnson. (Any word on bringing back Redd?)
    POINTS: Dragic, Marshall, Telfair.
    No stupid contracts and six 1st-round picks over the next three seasons.
    This has been an outstanding offseason.

  • http://NA $un$FAN

    Pinch me, I must be dreaming… the pick HAS to be protected, this can’t be right. If it’s like top 7 protected or something I can live with that because the Wolves will be in the 10-16 range, imo.

    I like Johnson off the bench, not sure how his defense is but I know he’s very long and athletic.

    Suns could end up with picks #’s 8, 12, and 27 or something like that. Our pick should be a top ten pick and then the TWolves a top 15 and the Lakers one of the last 3 or 4 picks most likely. Next years draft will be fun if this is true.

  • David

    Johnson is a young, athletic wing who is still developing. At worst he’s an above average defender whose offense should develop better in an open style like the Suns.
    Lopez is older and projects to top out at about 8 points and 6 boards, and I don’t know where you heard athletic and Lopez together… He can’t get off the floor and hasn’t been healthy for a full year in his career. We got rid of a 10 minute per game guy and added athleticism which is probably our number one need…

  • steve


    Johnson is older. Not sure where you’re getting your information.

    Johnson is AWFUL. Flat out awful. I agree that Lopez’s ceiling isn’t all that great, but Johnson is a BAD basketball player. Bad.

    I’m with Tony on this one. I don’t see this as being that great of a deal for the Suns (I don’t think it’s a bad deal, this just isn’t a steal or anything for Phoenix).

  • bk

    PJ Tucker is only 6’6″. He is not a big.

  • Shane

    Great deal for the Suns!

  • Scott

    So … the Suns are reconciled to life without Lopez … which hopefully means Frye moves back to 2nd unit C.

    The Suns get a 1st round pick for Lopez.

    The Suns trade the expiring contract of Warrick for Wes Johnson’s 2 years (I assume the third year is team option).

    Draft Express swears Johnson can do a lot of things the Suns want, it’s just that he was misused in Minnesota (in part, by Telfair). They say that despite coming from Syracuse, he’s been defensively sound in the NBA, so at least that’s a plus.

    If this trade goes down, I guess it solves a few problems.

    The 2nd unit would now look like: Marshall, Brown, Johnson, Morris, Frye.

    Moving Johnson to SF would help shore up wing defense, and Johnson is reportedly an efficient scorer who can share the ball with Brown. He’ll probably play better at SF than he did at SG.

    If Gentry plays them this way, and the new players perform more as the fans desire, then this could be a better team than last year.

    Right off the bat, putting Frye at 2nd unit C is an offensive improvement over Lopez. The Suns potentially have a situation where every player on the 2nd unit can hit a 3, and if Brown decides to get his intensity going, they could fly on defense as well as offense.

  • Roger

    I think FO consulted w/Beasley about Wes Johnson before the trade!!!!

    Guys, first I thought we had Houston West with Scola, Dragic and Brooks (short time) and now we have TWolves South with Telfair, Beasley and Johnson. NBA recycling at it’s best.


  • Tony

    @David I know I am just being a moron again, sorry.

    @Steve Do not agree with me, I am just trying to make people angry to get the attention I do not get at home.

  • Scott

    @Tony -

    Your thoughts mirror mine. However, I think the play Blanks is trying to make is the one outlined above.

  • cha cha cha

    Johnson for 1 year + a 1st rd pick > Warrick for 2 years and overpaying Lopez

  • jeremiehawkins614

    I love this trade if it’s true and for those who are saying this is crazy u clearly are slow what is not good about this trade we get a young athletic 2 guard which we needed and the kid is good he just needed to be in a system like this one we also got rid of Warrick which gives us more cap space and we get a first round pic for Lopez come on u know damn well that is a once in a life time offer that nobody else will give cause Lopez is trash so thank you Hornets and Wolves preciate ya

  • Blake

    I hate the Suns FO with a passion but man are they turning it around this off season, good job Suns FO.

  • cha cha cha

    according to Hoopshype, Johnson’s contract has a team option for the 2nd year. the 3rd year is a qualifying offer which i assume is moot if the 2nd year isn’t picked up.

  •!/LoveTrainPayne Luke

    Wow…I mean….wow. I’m not HUGELY excited about Wes Johnson on the team. (Yeah, he’s athletic and relatively young; it could pan out for him in PHX, but he’s not a building block, obviously.) But we get rid of Robin ‘Dead Legs’ Lopez and get a 1st round pick back?! Oh, be still my beating heart! Lopez was useless in the Suns’ system (actually, he might end up be useless in ANY system), and I laid awake at night in a cold sweat thinking the team might give him some ridiculous $40M contract. Please, God, let this trade come to fruition.

    To echo a lot of other peoples’ thoughts, this has been, from a responsible, cap-clearing, asset-acquiring point of view, a fantastic summer for the Suns. They’ve brought in good, young players for reasonable $$$, stole a nice veteran presence in Scola (who, mind you, is still a totally reliable scoring big), and kept future financial flexibility open. While Phoenix obviously isn’t on the Lakers-Knicks-Heat level of bringing star free agents in by the boat load, people forget that this is still a respectable, second-tier franchise around the league, with a long history and established culture, great weather, and the unanimous best training staff in the league. Guys DO consider Phoenix when juggling free agent offers. (Well, so long as Sarver makes the offer even a little enticing, which he hates to do.) Could we have a shot at James Harden or, Lord, even Chris Paul? Maybe. It’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever conceived. Anyway, good work, Suns. You’ve set us up for an entertaining season and big future moves. I like.

  • jeremiehawkins614

    Steve u stupid Johnson is not bad he is way better then what u are saying he is

  • steve

    Good argument, jeremiehawkins614. You’re right. I can see that now.

  • 7SecondsOrLess

    He’s a 4th pick. He didn’t exactly live up to it. Michael Beasley was a 2nd pick. He didn’t live up to it either. Suns expect to revitalize Beasley. We missed out on Mayo, why not go after a 4th pick? Lets hope we can get both youngsters as good as they should be

  • David

    I am wrong on the age sorry, but Rolos been in the league longer… With that said neither is old. But looking at the Suns system Lopez was never a good fit here and was never going to work out. To be honest I detested Lopez since college. I only know Wes from Syracuse, you mind explaining what his deficiencies are? Attitude? Defense? My thought is if he can play defense, run the floor, and is even an average shot he ll get better here. Guess I’m not so much high on Johnson as low on Lopez… Are you a Minnesota fan?

  • Khalid

    Great final piece of the puzzle. Very exciting times ahead. The team will surprise alot of people.

  • Scott

    I’m guessing a lot of the positive comments here are from fans of Wesley Johnson in college? He has done very poorly in the NBA.

    I’m not familiar with him at all, so if I get this wrong, go ahead and correct me. I gather he was moved from undersized PF in college to SG in the NBA. That often doesn’t work well (recall Alando Tucker).

    Once positioned at SG with the Wolves, he turned into a 3 pt shooter, which was the weakest part of his game (31%). He’s not a good ballhandler, and he is weak at creating his own offense, so he typically couldn’t drive into the paint, and the PGs didn’t set him up for cuts to the basket, so he languished.

    If the Suns intend to use him properly, they’ll pair him with a passing PG (Marshall), and they’ll place him at SF, where he’ll be in a better spot for cuts and short 3s. He doesn’t need the ball a lot, but when he gets it near the basket he can score and go to the line.

    Really, Johnson’s game is a lot like Warrick’s, except he’s clearly sized as a wing, and they say he can play adequate defense.

  • Mr. Cruncher

    The Minnesota 1st round pick will not be their own in 2013, because their pick in 2012 was used by New Orleans via the LA Clippers. A team cannot trade its own 1st round pick in consecutive years (see: “Ted Stepien” rule). However, according to the future pick details page, the TWolves own the rights to the Memphis Grizzlies 1st rd pick in 2013 via the Houston Rockets. The draft pick is listed as top 14 protected in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Read the source details below (jump to “Minnesota”) for more information on what will occur if the 1st rd pick is not received by 2016.


  • Tony


    yeah Johnson is older. But also, Lopez is very athletic considering his size as a legit 7′. The lack of athleticism we saw from him was due to his injuries, but as he showed in the 2nd half of last season, he’s regained much of his lost athleticism. Johnson is a horrible player, he doesn’t even shoot 40% and his PER rating is at an abysmal 8.08, which is beyond atrocious.

    Furthermore, Lopez brings an intimidation factor that
    Gortat doesn’t have. Who is going to be afraid of driving to the paint with Gortat and Frye as the shot-blockers?

    The only benefit for the Suns if this trade goes down is if the 1st round pick isn’t protected and if the Timberwolves have a horrible season, thereby giving the Suns a chance of drafting a better player. The Timberwolves have a pretty good young team and if Rubio comes back healthy and ready to play by the start of next season, the Wolves will end up being a pretty good team.

  • Russell

    Not a huge fan of Wes Johnson but I think he can be a good contributor. and has length at the 2 guard which we desperately need.

    But Wes J and a 1st round pick for Lopez is a very good deal. Plus we dump Warrick.

  •!/LoveTrainPayne Luke

    @Scott If the fans on here are anything like me, the excitement stems mostly from getting rid of Lopez for, well, ANYTHING. (I still can’t believe you can even trade that guy for a pick or another real, live NBA player; seriously, I previously would’ve been ecstatic if we got a $10 gift card to Carl’s Jr. for him. He’s just so…useless.) Most commentators agree that the NBA is moving to more of a small-ball style of play (as evidenced by Miami winning the title with Lebron and Bosh at the 4 and 5, respectively), so true centers are becoming less and less relevant. Even then, Lopez was probably, oh, Hell, I dunno, the worst center in the NBA? Seriously, what did this guy every do besides lay-ups (that’s right, layups; I’m STILL not sure Lopez can dunk) that Nash set him up for perfectly? I try not to begrudge guys too much just because they aren’t great ball players….but damn, I’m so glad he’s on his way out.

    To your Wes Johnson comments, I think you’re spot on with your idea of how to use him. Just think Shawn Marion. Now, mind you, I’m not saying Wes is the player the Matrix was (esp. in terms of rebounding and defensive versatility), but if Wes can do anything, it’s cut hard to the basket for quick passes, ram home alley-oops, and shoot open, often corner 3′s, a la Marion so many moons ago. I think Gentry’s a great coach and will get more out of this kid than previous coaches have managed to. It won’t be all bad. And, again, Lopez is leaving! Hallelujah!

  • Russell

    PS the pick is not coming from Minny. It is most likely the Grizzlies 1st round pick.

  • cha cha cha

    i hold no optimism for Johnson, i’m mainly glad that Warrick’s gone; that a 1st rd’er was pick up; and the cap is tied up with Lopez get $7mil for 4 years.

    @steve // Today at 6:32 pm (14 minutes ago)
    = comment of the day

  • phxdesertdude

    I like this trade. Lopez has been god awful his whole career. Wesley johnson has needed a new system. I think he’ll end up being the starting 2, brown should come off the bench. If Marshall is struggling then brown can push tempo. I agree with moving Frye back to 2nd unit Center he was so much better there. Starters for me would be Gortat, dragic, beasley, scola, johnson. Bench would be Marshall, Brown, Dudley, Keef, Frye.

  • Blake

    Lopez is worthless I am glad he is gone!

  • Mr. Cruncher

    Regarding the outcome of the proposed trade, the Suns make out like bandits in this deal.

    1. The Suns apparently are not willing to meet the contract demands of Robin Lopez. In return…

    2. The Suns will receive a 1st rd pick (likely to be the 2013 Memphis draft pick as described in my previous post) for agreeing to a sign and trade of a player they are not willing to oblige in a contract negotiation. Said player, Lopez, obviously has not lived up to his potential nor his draft selection.

    Note: Although this goes against my argument in favor of the deal, I was actually quite pleased with Lopez’s play in the last quarter to third of the season last year. Anyways…

    4. Depending on how you view the roster, the Suns are effectively swapping a 30 year old, 5th string power forward for a 25 year old, wing rotation player who is only entering his 3rd year in the league. Both players have Team Options for next year, so the contract details are moot, and if somehow Johnson thrives with the Suns, the Suns have another asset to trade or retain for the future.

    To those questioning the value of the trade for the Suns, in what possible scenario is this bad? The Suns aren’t necessarily hitting a home run for a superstar, but they just hit a couple more singles. Eventually all those singles (process of asset acquisition) will return dividends and put points on the scoreboard.

    Oh, and to quote Bill SImmons, “KHAAAAAAN!”

  • Shane

    @Mr.Cruncher Thanks for all the awesome info!

    Go Suns!

  • Ty-Sun

    Well, getting a 1st round pick back for Lopez – and ANY player that has a little potential – is a good (not great but good) deal for the Suns. That puts Frye as the backup C but that’s fine with me. And if Frye isn’t ready to go at the start of the season, Scola can back up Gortat. He’s a little undersized to play the 5 but he has a wide body and played there well in Houston when they needed him to.

  • Reter

    Her is what I think the deal is since minni can’t receive Miller.

    No gets Lopez
    Phx gets Miller, Johnson
    Minni gets Warrick, 2nd round pick.

    This sounds a bit more reasonable.

  • Reter

    Forgot to add the first round pick to Phx but yeah that is pretty much how I think it will go down, although I may be wrong.

  • Shane


    Suns are not getting Brad Miller LOL

    Besides he is retiring.

  • George Z.

    At the end of the day heres what happened. Lopez got traded for a 1st rd pick (even though it will be higher than where he was chosen) but we avoid paying him an unacceptable contract. So that in itself is a win or at least even. Then we trade Warrick (who even though I saw some potential) was not doing much on the team for a 4th pick that is supposed to have some potential. I don’t know how much Johnson was earning, but I doubt it was as much as Warrick. I don’t know how the cap thing works 100%, but I would assume that we save cap room with these trades (if anyone knows then please elaborate). Also, I do believe we will be a sleeper team this season. I like what the F.O has done, who knows what they can do next year with a bunch of picks, expiring contracts, and cap space. BOOSH!! that just happened. Hahahahhaa GO SUNS!!!

  • steve


    Not a Minnesota fan. The ONLY team I ever root for is PHX and whoever is playing the Lakers, Spurs, Mavs, or Heat.

    I can’t stand Lopez either, but he’s actually been a better-than-average player by just about any measure you can find. PER & WS48 both have above average in the past 3 seasons (throwing out his rookie campaign). Last season, his per36 numbers were 14/8.4. That’s not bad at all. It’s not all-star, but it’s not bad either.

    Wes Johnson, on the other hand, has been all sorts of bad. Granted, it’s a smaller sample size, so there is no telling exactly what he will turn into, but right now, the SMART money is on him remaining bad.

    A PER of 8.0 last year, WS48 of .021, eFG% of .465, -0.4 OWS, a per36 line of 9.6/4.3/1.4… that’s not a good player. In fact, it’s a BAD player. That kind of player does more harm than good when on the floor.

    I do like his defensive potential, and I think he would be *better* (not good, *better*) offensively in the PHX system, but the cons outweight the pros with Johnson, in my opinion.

    Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. I hope so, for Johnson’s sake.

  • Russell

    The Suns will get a 1st round pick and wes johnson that is all. Miller staying in NOLA. Suns now have 5 first round picks in the next 2 years and an additional 5 2nd round picks.

    Phx now has a tone of cap space for next year (Wes Johnson option for 5.4 mil next year will not be picked up). So all this cap space, plus picks plus players they can trade, Suns are most likely team to land a star player via trade.

  • Ty-Sun

    I was wondering what was in this trade for Minn but ESPN is saying they are involved to clear cap space to sign Kirilenko/AK47.

  • Scott

    @George Z -

    Actually, Warrick and Johnson make about the same money. Also, Warrick was a 19th pick, and Johnson was a 4th pick. So, even though both players may appear useless, the Suns are trading up. ;)

    The only cap space saved is that which would have been used on Lopez.

    Warrick and Johnson have suffered from similar problems. Warrick was clearly projected to play as SF in the NBA, but teams kept putting him in at PF, even though he was too lightweight.

    Likewise, Johnson – who is a few inches shorter than Warrick – was projected to play at SF, but Minnesota put him at SG … even though it made very little sense for his skill set, and the results were abysmal.

    Coaches and GMs make some apparently senseless decisions, and then stick by them.

  • JamRock

    I’m a fan of pretty much everything the front office has done this off season. Great move getting a first round pick for that stiff Robin Lopez…. dude cant jump, cant catch the ball and cant rebound. Warrick for Johnson, at worst is a wash, if Johnson turns out to be any good its a bonus.

  • Russell

    So will we make the same mistake? will we play Wes at the 2guard off the bench instead of the 3? The team prefers to mix Dudley at the 3 and the 2 off the bench but Dud’s best defensive position is the 3. So where does that leave Wes J? I have a feeling he will be on the bench a lot.

  • Tim from British Columbia

    I don’t know anything about Johnson but hope he helps at guard (broken record I know but what is wrong with Barbossa?!) I know Lopez was inconsistent and the team couldn’t count on him to come through when they needed him but I will miss him and his hair (with Fropez and Chilly gone, who will have the fun hair?) I also remember Robin being a great team player and cheerleader (I remember once when he almost fell over backwards cheering for a great spin move made by Dragon…it was priceless) I wish him and Hakim well in NO and think they will help their team (Warick had his good moments out there but hardly played in rotation)

  • Shane

    @Russel No no no, Wes will be a backup 3 and Dudley will be a backup 2 or starting 2.

  • cha cha cha

    so how many roster spots are filled right now?