The Phoenix Suns made it clear early this offseason that they’d make the re-signing of Robin Lopez some level of a priority, but Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the team and its backup center are struggling to reach a deal.
Wojnarowski tweeted on Tuesday that the Suns and their restricted free agent are far apart in their contract talks. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Hornets are interested in a sign-and-trade with the 7-footer, but those talks have not resulted in a deal either.
This whole ordeal could be a symptom of what the NBA sees year after year involving its most coveted, yet hard-to-find piece — the shot-blocking big. Ryan Weisert asserted in his NBA Skills Market post that these types of centers often get overpaid, and Lopez and his representation should expect no less. However, it could be hard to make a huge splash considering the disappointing season he just went through — Lopez didn’t even qualify for Weisert’s criteria for a rim protector of greater than 1.5 blocks per game, averaging just 0.9 blocks per contest in 14 minutes per outing.
Whereas JaVale McGee just signed a four-year, $44 million deal with the Denver Nuggets, Lopez is far from a decent rebounder for the center position, and his place behind starter Marcin Gortat makes it hard to believe the Suns will overpay him.
Michael Schwartz believes Lopez deserves no more than $4 million a year if Phoenix wants to stick with him, and that could be a fair deal for both sides.
It should be of note that, aside from the Hornets’ interest, no other NBA squad has gotten the restricted free agent to sign an offer sheet. Read that as the rest of the NBA market knowing that Lopez is a guy with too many question marks to risk overpaying for.
And that lack of interest could mean the Suns still could talk him down to a reasonable salary.
Beasley believes he’s an All-Star
Newly-signed Suns forward Michael Beasley told XTRA 910 that he’s confident that he’ll be an All-Star this season:
“I get a chance to not be the main guy but you know to be the go-to guy. Not just scoring but the go-to stopper and whatever my team needs, me to get a bucket or get a defensive stop, I feel good and confident that I can be that guy.” [...]“
Beasley isn’t exactly playing himself up to an insane degree. Eric Freeman is correct in that it’s frequent that guys in Beasley’s situation — both as a pro athlete and an interviewee — will throw out big goals for themselves. Then again, Beasley has been known to have a bit too much self worth.
As a less-than sixth man with Minnesota last season, there’s no doubt Beasley’s role in Phoenix is greatly increased. Maybe it’s a concern that he’s all of a sudden this team’s go-to scorer, but a guy who was capable of scoring 20 points in a game, albeit for a bad team, can score 20 points in a game.
The Suns didn’t have that last year.