Robin Lopez and Suns struggle to reach deal; Beasley too confident?


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.

Tags: Michael Beasley Robin Lopez

  • Tony

    @Steve,

    firstly, I never suggested that the Suns will struggle to win 30 games. I said 35 games will most likely be their ceiling.

    As far being objective, I’m simply taking many factors into consideration in addition to statistics, such as chemistry and leadership, both of which you consistently under-value. None of the new additions, with the exception of Scola, have ever played even an entire season as starters. Over the past two seasons, Beasley has been one of the least efficient players in the league and a below average PER rating. Dragic had a phenomenol 28-game stretch with the Rockets, but looking at the totality of his NBA career up until this point, he’s shown himself to be an extremely inconsistent player. So, why is it unrealistic or otherwise improbable to expect him to continue his pattern of inconsistency? He might have matured enough or improved his game to such a degree as to increase his consistency level, but at this point, we don’t have enough of a sample size to draw a definitive conclusion about how well he will perform as a starter over an 82-game schedule.
    Furthermore, when you consider that the Suns probable starting lineup this coming season will feature 3-new players, Dragic, Beasley, and possibly Scola, I have no doubt that the lack of team chemistry will hurt them at least until the first 20-25 games of the season. At this elite level, team chemistry is imperative to achieve success. I don’t know the exact specifics, but other than the Rockets, how many other teams in the western conference will feature so many new additions in their starting lineups? I may be mistaken but I think the Suns will feature more than most and as such, while other teams’ have established chemistry and players are comfortable in their roles, the Suns starting lineup will be lacking in that capacity.
    Moreover, the lack of veteran leadership will also be detrimental to the Suns success. Scola’s transition period in fully adjusting and becoming comfortable with the team and Gentry’s expectations will likely preclude him from taking such a role despite his experience in the NBA.

    Lastly, unlike other professional leagues, having star players is an absolutely critical factor in guaging how well a team will do. Now, since the expectations for the Suns are non-playoff team, it’s not as if they have too difficult a ceiling to go beyond those expectations. With that being said, the lack of a true “star” player will also limit the success of this team. Dragic and Gortat, probably the two best Suns players, are good players but hardly qualify as elite ones. So who on the team will command the respect of his teammates, the coaching staff, and even the referrees, to elevate this team to a status beyond that of a team with a bunch of nice pretty good players, to one of which commands the respect of the rest of the league, all the way to favorable officiating?

    @Sun Also Loser,

    stop pretending to be me. You are such a pathetic loser. I’m just curious, how old are you? I sincerely hope you are no older than 13, otherwise you should really be ashamed of yourself for being such a loser. You should enlist in the miltary to help you grow out of your childish demeanor. I’ve personally seen losers such as yourself be transformed into mature and respectable citizens just by going through basic and AIT training.

  • cha cha cha

    SI’s 2 cents:
    “Hakim Warrick and Wesley Johnson — two former Syracuse Orangemen — have not met with much success in the NBA, hence the first-round pick obtained by the Suns could turn out to be the most valuable piece of this trade.”

  • Davida

    Gortat is only equal to Gordon if he’s injured half the year. If Gordon is healthy, he’s twice the player Gortat is.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Mac – Yes I think the Suns will be better than the Hornets NEXT season. After that, who knows. Davis will be a monster player but he will still be a rookie next year and prone to rookie mistakes. As for Rivers, I’m glad he’s with NO instead of Phoenix. Too many “ifs” about him. I think he will struggle initially but may be able to overcome that and adapt to the NBA. He also has to adapt to becoming a PG instead of a SG which will make his 1st season a tough one. I can honestly say that the Hornets could beat the Heat by 20 points one night and then loose to the Bobcats by 20 the next. You guys just are going to have a very young team with a LOT of potential that will probably create a lot of inconsistent play next year. 2-3 years from now, watch out!

    As for Eric Gordon, there is no way the Suns and Hornets can make that trade according to the CBA rule so it’s no use even talking about it.

    As to a trade for Rolo, it will take more than Xavier Henry and a 2nd round pick to get him. Xavier Henry is NOT someone we want even if you were willing to give a 1st round UNprotected pick with him… well maybe if it was next year’s draft pick. But I think he’s still worth more than that.

  • Tony

    That’s a horrible deal if that goes through. Wesley Johnson???? You don’t give up athletic bigs for less than mediocre sgs. This was what I was afraid of from the FO when they brought in Scola. Is Frye even going to be ready to play by the time the season starts? Until he comes back, who will be the backup center? This is a horrible deal if it comes to fruition.

  • Tony

    Nevermind what I said, Wesley Johnson is a team option for next season so it is basically ROLO + Warrick’s expiring contract for Wesley’s expiring contract + 1 first round draft pick. Good job Suns FO!

  • Scott

    Why in the world would the Suns want YET ANOTHER bad player from one of the worst teams the league has seen?

    Name 3 players who were on Minnesota’s team during their worst year. Hmm … Beasley, Telfair, and Wes Johnson?

    Johnson has a PER of 8. For all practical purposes, that’s about as low as you can go.

    If this rumor is for real, then Blanks is going way overboard. You can’t pick up lead, brush it off, and expect to find gold. At best you get shiny lead.

  • cha cha cha

    ostensibly, they’re swapping Warrick, who’s on the books for 2 years, for Johnson, who’s on the books for 1 year, then there’s a team option. plus, they’re getting a 1st round pick for Lopez.

  • cha cha cha

    i believe Telfair was gone before Johnson got there.

  • steve

    @Tony

    So… subjective reasoning is your basis. That’s all you needed to say.

    Until you come up with way to quantify “chemistry” and “leadership,” it will fall under the “subjective” category.

    Good thoughts, though. I’m not trying to say your points aren’t valid. I just asked for objectivity, and it wasn’t really there.

    @Davida – A PER of 21.5 and nightly averages of 15/10 beg to differ. Gortat is a high-quality player in the NBA. Not an All-NBA caliber guy… but then again, Gordon hasn’t made an All-Star or All-NBA appearance yet, either, and his highest full-season PER was 18.5. I would give Gordon the slight edge based on his ceiling and his position (a *great* 2 is extremely hard to come by, and Gordon might turn into a great 2), but Gordon isn’t far and away the better player. In fact, statistically, to this point in their careers, Gortat has been better.

    Either way, It’s just foolish to think Gordon is “twice” the player Gortat is, but I know you’re not going to care about reason, logic, numbers, or anything that actually matters.

  • Greg

    Lopez wanted more money then suns wanted to give…nothing wrong with sign and trade. basically its warrick for a first round pick and wesley johnson, who atleast gives us length (6-7) when hes on the court, something we dont have much of on the wings….johnson isnt good but warrick for a pick and Johnson? whats wrong with it?

  • Tony

    @Steve,

    I agree that factors such as leadership and chemistry are dificult to qualify as objective, but what is objective is that teams with chemistry and leadership almost always do better than those without. With that being said, looking at the career numbers of all the new players, none of which stand out as exceptional. Again, Dragic has been highly erratic and a mere 28-game great stretch should not surpass his entire body of work as an NBA player. Beasley’s last two seasons have been horrible, as indicated by his statistics. Scola is a very good pickup, but even he had a poor season last year, considering how well he’s played throughout most of his NBA career. I know you’re the master statistician on VOTS, but reflecting on the aggregate of their NBA careers, statistically indicates neither Dragic or Beasley are much beyond pretty good caliber players.

  • Greg

    @ tony

    pretty good post little while ago, made some good points.

    only thing i wanted to touch on was Goran’s inconsistency.

    Its fair and safe to say the reason for Goran’s inconsistency was due to a variety of factors.
    Inconsistent minutes, lack of confidence, lack of experience. At 26, the Euro age curve has ended and Goran has all the physical tools. Gentry and Goran have great relationship, so he will git the ground running, considering he is familiar with the system already and he has the coaching staffs confidence.

    With big minutes, and the big time abilities he has shown, i have no fear that dragic will perform poorly. I think he is going to elevate his game and play in the top 3rd of NBA point guards.

    you never know, @ tony, but its fair to say the reasons i listed are probably big factors in his inconsistency.

  • Tony

    @Greg,

    I definitely agree, you make a good argument about the root cause of Dragic’s inconsistencies. There’s definitely a lot to be said for the typically necessary integration process of foreign players adjusting to life in the U.S. and in playing in the NBA. His relationship with Gentry should make Dragic more secure in his starting role and thus, should lead him to play with more confidence. So, good points all around and I definitely agree that the above-mentioned factors you listed were a critical factor in Dragic’s inconsistencies.