Robin Lopez trade hits snag due to CBA rules


Editor’s Note: I have since learned that I misunderstood a CBA rule. Please consult this post for the end result of this trade’s hold up.

Nothing is ever easy.

While Suns, Hornets and Wolves fans were already envisioning how the pieces of the proposed three-way trade involving Robin Lopez and Wes Johnson would fit their organizations, the teams had yet to find a way to make the trade comply with league salary cap rules.

I discussed the deal this afternoon with Jason Calmes from Hornets 247 and frankly neither of us could figure out a way for the teams to make it legal with the parts being discussed. However, I figured the professional cap analysts might see something that us amateur capologists missed.

Turns out we may have been right.

The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro reported Wednesday night that “significant issues” are preventing the deal from being pushed to completion. The teams have agreed to principle to the trade that would include the Suns receiving a lottery-protected Memphis first-rounder from Minnesota, yet as Coro put it “the largest remaining issue is making the trade oblige with rules to get league approval.”

Tonight PBO Lon Babby told a group of Suns fans that the deal is 50/50, as an agreement remains but consummating the trade within the guidelines of the rules is the problem, per Coro.

Here is the issue as I see it.

First off, as we have reported a couple times on this site, a player cannot be reacquired by a team until the following July 1 after being dealt. That means Brad Miller’s contract can only be traded to Phoenix in this arrangement because Minnesota dealt him to New Orleans earlier this month.

According to Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ, a team cannot deal a player “for two months after receiving the player in trade, if the trade aggregates the player’s salary with the salaries of other player” if the team is over the salary cap, which New Orleans now is and would still be as the result of this trade, per Calmes.

My thought then was why don’t they split this up and have the Suns acquire Miller for Warrick, which is legal, and then consummate the rest of the pieces as a separate trade.

Unfortunately, the Hornets need to take back both Warrick and Lopez in the same deal that aggregates the salaries of Miller and Jerome Dyson for it to be legal on their side. Non-tax paying teams that are over the cap, which New Orleans is, can take back 150 percent of what they send out plus $100K, per Coon’s FAQ. Miller is essentially needed for the very purpose of being able to absorb the $9.3 million they would take back in Warrick and Lopez via the 150 percent rule so taking him out would would still make this incarnation of the deal illegal.

If only Dyson were included in a deal for Lopez (and the teams did the aforementioned Miller/Warrick swap),  the Hornets would not be able to give Lopez a contract anywhere close to the the $5 mil a year being reported. New Orleans does not have a cap filler replacement for Miller to slot into this deal either.

If the sides cannot figure things out, the ramifications would be felt by the Wolves and Andrei Kirilenko, who reportedly have agreed on a two-year, $20 mil deal. Minnesota needed to cut Johnson’s salary to clear cap space for AK47.

Coro speculated that if the deal falls through Lopez would sign with the Suns for the $4 mil qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent next season. This was always my preferred means of keeping Lopez as I have been against any long-term deal for him but would be pleased to keep him for one year for cheap when we already know one team is very interested in acquiring him.

Based on Calmes’ figures, the Hornets do not have enough cap space to offer that three-year, $15.3 million deal via restricted free agency without the help of a trade.

ESPN previously reported that a four-team deal that would have placed Lopez in New Orleans has already fallen apart, so it’s certainly possible this deal will be expanded if this iteration does not work out.

But based on my understanding of the salary cap rules and with the limited pieces at the teams’ disposal, it’s hard to see how these general managers will keep the deal cap legal in its current form.

UPDATED: Potential solutions

First off, thanks to reader Ryan for bringing up the point that the Suns could just try to make this a two-team trade with Minnesota. The Wolves are now desperate to clear cap space to sign Kirilenko so they might be willing to give up the Memphis pick and Johnson for a protected second … or perhaps even more.

The Suns are in a good spot here because not many teams are in position to do a money deal like Phoenix potentially is, plus the team could use Johnson depth-wise. This would work under the cap for the Suns only if they renounce Lopez’s rights (which they won’t do) or sign him to the $4 mil qualifying offer. That would put them at about $57.5 mil in salaries for this season and the same place for the future as they were under the original version of the trade.

I think this would be a fantastic use of their extra cap space while maintaining future flexibility and retaining Lopez to potentially flip after Dec. 15 for yet another asset. In the meantime the Suns would have a quality backup center while Frye is out. The key here is Lopez would have to sign the qualifying offer first, and as a guy who originally wanted $7 mil a season on a long-term deal, he won’t necessarily be willing to do so.

By my math, this deal would work if Minnesota traded Johnson and the first for Al-Farouq Aminu and the two seconds (satisfied by 150 percent rule) from New Orleans. They could then deal Johnson and the pick for Lopez and Miller for Warrick (or vice versa). I’m not sure if that would clear enough cap space for Minnesota to sign AK, and if it doesn’t obviously this idea is moot.

This concept also would work if the Suns dealt Telfair instead of Warrick. The Suns would trade a re-signed Lopez and Telfair to the Hornets, the Hornets would trade Miller (by himself) to the Suns as well as a second-rounder to the Wolves, and the Wolves would send Johnson and the pick to the Suns. The Suns would be able to absorb the extra salary into cap space (although that would be about it for their 2012 cap room), the Hornets could do it via the 150 percent rule and the Wolves would be under the cap. Of course, I’m not sure why the Suns would do a deal like that but they could.

If the Suns waive P.J. Tucker, they could do the originally reported deal as is just without Warrick (Suns get Johnson/Miller/first, Hornets get Lopez, Minny gets two seconds) since Miller would not be aggregated with anybody else’s salary in this iteration. Again, without Warrick included I don’t see how this makes sense for Phoenix.

Calmes suggested an even more realistic possibility. If the Hornets trade Xavier Henry to a fourth team with minimal cap space or a satisfactory trade exception for a second-rounder (they originally acquired him for a second), they could take back Warrick’s salary while leaving the rest of the current deal intact aside from Miller and Lopez, who would then be traded for each other in a separate deal. The teams would need to execute the Lopez/Miller trade first to clear Robin’s cap hold and give the Suns the room to make the other deal, after which they would still have almost $3.5 mil of cap room remaining.

At this point it’s up to one of the teams to compromise in some way by moving another asset. Which organization wants this most?

  • Greg

    @ BK

    we all know you were being sarcastic about Frye playing at the 2 spot right?

  • Morgan McCoy

    I think once this deal goes through the Suns will need to find a temporary back up center. Looking at what centers are left the only one I would consider is Fresenko. However, I don’t think he fits, because I don’t think he can run the floor. I think the suns should go after LOU! He’s undersized, but the guy can rebound and defend. He’s a great locker room guy, and will help the team gel. Plus he’s cheap.

  • Greg

    @ Morgan

    I like Lou as a short-term fix, and the fans love him, good chemistry, hustle guy. Despite being a decent shot blocker/rebounder, big 5′s absolutely abuse him. He may be the worst free throw shooter in the league. Having a back-up center that cant guard 5′s and cant shoot free throws at all is a problem, even though i like his ability to run

  • bk

    @Greg

    I believe Frye strength is shooting 3, not post defending.

  • Ty-Sun

    Well, there seem to be workable alternatives to the original deal so hopefully they will get it done soon and everyone can move on.

  • Greg

    @bk

    lol and he is 6-11 250 pounds and couldnt guard a snail on the perimeter. we would have the worst defense in the entire league.

    Channings block rate, rebounding rate, and defensive efficiency have all risen. He isnt a good post defender, but he puts in alot of energy and effort into being average in that aspect.

    Kevin Love shoots 3s too, should he be a 2? Maybe 7 footer Andrea Bargnani should move from the 4 to the 2 also because he doesnt play post defense either.

    like i said, we all know you were kidding

    Like i said, we all know you were being

  • bk

    @bk

    Yes, but Frye is not a good rebounder. Love is.

  • Greg

    So, because a guy isnt a great rebounder you play him at a position where he cant defend and he would hurt the team dramatically?

    Please act like you have some basketball knowledge and retract your statement that Frye could move from the 4/5 and play the two…

    if not….there is no hope for you

  • Greg

    Frye still rebounds better then most 3′s and alot of 4′s. His shooting is a quality skill because it forces PFs and C to come out their and try to guard him, opening up the lane for the offense or giving Frye open looks.

    A SG needs to be able to dribble, put the ball on the floor and get to the free throw line. A sg needs to be able to guards quicker players on the perimeter….

    Nothing in Frye’s game speaks that he should be a 2, or a 3. He is a 4 or a 5 in any league, on any team, in the entire world. He isnt even capable of playing the 2. its dumbfounding you are still trying to make it seem he should.

  • Tony

    Maybe this is a sign to the Suns from the basketball gods not to trade Lopez for Wesley freaking Johnson smh. Seriously though, to give up a younger legitimgate 7 footer, who’s getting closer to regaining his athleticism with every passing day in exchange for an older wing player whom has been a total bust so far still makes no sense to me. Oh, I know, the lottery protected 1st round pick will net the Suns gold right? Regarding Warrick, doesn’t he have a team option the following year? As such, why not just let him play this year riding the pine and decline his option next season? It’s not as if his salary is currently preventing the FO from signing a high priced player or trading for one.

    Frye most likely won’t be ready by the time the season starts and it’s going to take him awhile to get readjusted once he’s back. With this likely being the case, Scola and Morris are too small to play center, and the Suns become very small until whenever Frye is healthy and comfortable playing again.

    Bad, bad deal for the Suns.

  • Ty-Sun

    The problem is that Lopez is still a RFA unless he agrees to signing the Suns’ qualifying offer (which he won’t… at least not right away) and that the Suns aren’t really counting on him as part of their future anymore. All it might take is one team willing to offer him a 3 year $18 offer sheet and the Suns will either have to tie up a load of cap space to keep him or let him go for nothing. I think $6 mil a year is overpaying him but some other team might not. I think that the FO bluffed about wanting to keep Lopez and now every team in the league knows they were bluffing to keep them from throwing offer sheets at him.

    If anyone gives him an offer sheet worth more than what NO is willing to pay him then the entire deal is dead and either the Suns loose Lopez for nothing or they tie up a lot of cap space to keep him.

    • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

      @Ty-Sun A very interesting game of poker going on amongst all the parties (Suns, Wolves, Hornets, Lopez). They all need each other to a certain degree, but if one of their situations change (like Lopez getting thrown a fat offer) the entire house of cards tumbles. The Suns seem to be in the best spot on the surface, but if that happens all of a sudden they could be out an asset for nothing. Because all teams need this to a certain degree, it seems likely they will figure out a way to make it work.

      I’m not sure if any team is willing to go 3/18 with Robin. Most teams have already used up all their cap space, which certainly works in the Suns’ advantage. They really need to play this Lopez asset right, and overall this situation is a big test of Babby’s negotiation/CBA analysis skills.

  • Swag

    So is there going to be a fourth team involved in this trade?

  • Majestic

    I heard the teams have to wait till Sept 13 for the approval.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Michael – I agree it’s unlikely that Lopez gets a 3/18 offer sheet but it could happen. Even a smaller offer sheet by a team that Lopez might prefer could complicate things IF he decides to sign it.

    Even if another team gave him a smaller offer sheet, lets say 3/14, and he actually signed it… wouldn’t that kill the NO/Minn deal? The Suns would not be able to trade him unless they matched the offer sheet first and then they wouldn’t be able to trade him until December if I understand the NBA trade rules correctly.

    • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

      @Majestic That is correct for the current iteration of the trade because that’s when New Orleans could trade Miller along with other players. But I don’t think waiting until then is incredibly likely with all the moving parts (Lopez and AK specifically) involved.

      @Ty-Sun That’s right, once Lopez gets an offer sheet this is all over. The Suns could only either match or let him go at that point. And right, they couldn’t trade him until Dec. 15 to anyone, and they could never trade him to the team that extends the offer sheet and for the first year he could block any such trade.

      • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

        Also keep in mind that even if a Lopez deal gets killed, depending on what happens with him they could just do the Minnesota part of the trade and pick up the first for taking on Wes’s contract.

  • Scott

    I would be fine with that last bit, if it should come to that.

  • Rex

    If we were to split this trade or go ahead with it by removing Warrick, the Suns lose coz Minny got what they want, NO got Lopez and don’t have to pay Warrick, but we still have to pay him.
    In other to get close to the “everyone kind of win” case, NO will have to give up more. Either they do a protected #1+ Miller for Lopez, or Aminu+Henry(or one of those 2 guys) for Lopez.
    On Minny’s end, I think one #2 pick will be enough (though we could give them 2), simply because they would have had to give NO cash in the original deal. So, since Phx has the space, Johnson+ #1 for cap space+ #2 gets it done.
    So, options;
    1) Suns get 2 #1 (NO and Minny) Miller and Johnson
    NO gets Lopez
    Minny gets 1 or 2 #2

    2) Suns get Aminu+Dylan+Johnson+#1
    NO gets Lopez
    Minny gets 1 or 2 #2

    Option 2 seems like the best case scenario for all teams involved. Minny has no problem (except maybe an extra #2 not getting included), Warrick doesn’t really affects the Suns as we have the space, NO loses something either way (and I love this, they can’t really expect to get something for nothing, that’s against the Law of Continuity), weather its a prospect in Aminu or a #1 pick which will be a good prospect for their young team.

    As a Suns fan and a fan of Aminu, I’ll prefer option 2, but if one is what they go with, I just hope the Suns FO aren’t stupid enough to allow a strong protection. We have what they want/need, which puts us in the driver’s seat. We should be pushing for a no protection to top 5 protection in 2013, top 3 in 14 and no protection in 15. If they can’t take that, then they’ll have to give us a prospect. Whichever they choose, we win.

  • Scott

    @Rex -

    I do like the trade with Minnesota, in that if Gentry really would play WJ at SF, it could work for this team, and the Suns can use another first round pick, even if it is a low one.

    If the Suns can include Warrick in any deals for Lopez, I think that’s a good idea. However, I’m also okay with the Suns signing Lopez to the same contract the Hornets want to give, and keeping him. There’s no telling how good Frye is going to be coming back in, and now that he’s had his shoulder out twice, it’s just going to be more likely that it will go out again.

    I like Frye, but it could be that he’s the better center to trade. Yes, Lopez has had his own health issues, so it’s not a clear cut determination, even just based on health. But if Frye’s shoulder can go out any time he gets his elbow hit, and thus be out for the season … that’s precarious.

    FWIW, if WJ works out, I think the Suns should start shopping Beasley and/or Scola, in addition to Warrick. I like Scola, but I recognize that a contending team might part with a young asset to get the veteran PF.

    The Suns are going to have a lot of picks coming their way next year. If they can’t find ways to use the picks in trade, they’ll end up with possibly 4 first round picks (or 3 if they can’t do the Minnesota deal), plus one 2nd round pick.

    This is not a bad thing. Picks are cheap to sign, and cheap for years if you keep them.

    If the Suns trade for WJ and keep Lopez and lose their cap space, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. All those picks will have cap exceptions, so the Suns can go over the limit if necessary.

    And if the Suns can’t deal Scola, Beasley, or Warrick this year, at least Warrick will come off the books, and possibly WJ (if he’s acquired), and if needed Brown’s team option can be declined. That’s around $12-13m right there.

  • Rob

    @ Scott

    From Coon’s CBA FAQ #67:

    The waiving team may not re-sign or re-acquire the player for the length of his contract (which includes seasons following an ETO, but does not include seasons following an option), and the claiming team is prohibited from trading the player until the following July 1.

  • Scott

    I guess my main points are:

    1) it’s not necessary to trade Lopez now, if he’ll accept a $5m/yr 3 year contract. Sign him, and if you want, trade him after Frye returns, or in the summer, or even next year.

    2) Go ahead and do the deal with Minnesota before they find another suitor. Get WJ and the pick.

  • Scott

    @Rob -

    Can you point out where that applies? I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

    • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

      @Scott He’s talking about Scola. Suns can’t trade him until July 1 because they acquired him via amnesty. That being said, I expect him to become a very attractive trade piece once he’s eligible to be dealt.

  • Scott

    Oh, okay. I didn’t know that, but I’m not in a rush to trade him anyway. I think he could be a good influence on Gortat, as the two expats will probably bond. Hopefully they’ll play a lot of 1-on-1, so Gortat can develop his offense. Gentry may oppose it, but I’d like for Gortat’s game to round out to the extent where he can play PF as an option.

    While I believe the Suns could get value for Scola, Beasley’s the one I’m most anxious to trade. I could change my mind after he shows his stuff with the Suns, but right now I’m thinking he’s a one dimensional player who is likely at his ceiling.

    I’m already liking WJ better. lol

  • Greg

    @ Tony

    Not that i disagree with your post, but you said “an older wing player” regarding Wes Johnson? You do know he just turned 25 and Lopez just turned 24? So i wouldnt consider Johnson and older wing player, considering his NBA experience is also 2 years less then Lopez.

    Morris and Scola are too small for center, agreed. But, opposing centers put up a slightly higher PER against Lopez then they did Scola. The difference is miniscule, but it gives us an idication that we wont lose too much defensively when Scola is at center.

    I know Lopez’s blocking ability and presence make him the superior option, but post defense alone, Scola isnt too much of a downgrade. I would prefer Lopez, but then he needs to be moved once Frye is back in the swing of things, because you can’t run a 5 man front-court rotation, especially when Beasley may see minutes at the 4 as well… Lopez would be struggling to even get his 15 minutes a game, which 7 foot or not, is not worth $4 million in my opinion. (not saying Frye is worth $6.8 but we are stuck with him for now).

    Overall, I disagree with it being a really bad deal for the Suns, but I don’t think it necessarily helps them either. If Wes Johnson offers some length and defense, whether at the 2 or 3 off the bench, and can elevate his shooting percentages a little, then the deal wont be all bad.

    Maybe Johnson (yea he sucks) was out of place as a starter last year. Maybe he lacks confidence and will perform much better as a bench player with a reduced role and reduced pressure?

    We can’t say this would be terrible yet, considering we don’t know what we will get from Johnson (even though we kinda know he will probably still suck).

    The reason I’m not too worried about Lopez leaving is that I dont think Lopez is going to be the player he can be if he gets 15 mins or less a game. If he is healthy, and getting 20+ minutes a night, he could score double digits and give a team more then a block a night. Unfortunately, we wont see that Lopez with our loaded front court. Whether Morris and Scola are big enough or not, we have 2 front court positions, and those guys, along with Frye, Gortat, and maybe even Beasley, need their minutes too.

    Not disagreeing, just suggesting the other side of it

  • Greg

    @Scott

    On your Frye shoulder comment, true shoulders come out more easily once they come out once. Its like a rubber band that has a small cut in it. It can stretch further and further, that shoulder eventually has nothing keeping it sucked into the shoulder socket (the labrum)

    However, Frye didnt have surgury on the first subluxation (partial, not compelte dislocation)? I dont believe he did. Now that he has had it repaired, his shoulder is stronger, and less likley to come out, even prior to the first sublux, when his shoulder was healthy.

    I wouldnt be too worried about this shoulder issue recurring in the future, unless by chance. I have had a similar surgury on both shoulders, total dislocation on one, and for a sublux on the other, and I have had no more problems with either coming out, even through-out the last few football seasons.

    You mention trading Beasley? Why? A 3 year 18 million dollar deal is not one that you sign a guy to if your intentions are to use him as a trade piece. Some people believe 6 million was a little high for him. The only way we can trade him is if his performance dictates that his contract is worthy of being absorbed by a team. In that case, if he is playing well enough for a team to want to take him in, wouldnt we want to keep a young quality talent thats playing well at 6 million a year?? Totally disagree with that suggestion/thought. It would not make any sense at all.

    Only way it makes sense is if Beasley comes out, shoots 43%, averages 15 points 5 boards, plays no defense, and is jacking up shots all over the court, in 33 minutes of action. Then we might say, crap, lets see what we can move this guy, but with that performance/contract, we would never get rid of him.

    Now, if he comes out, scores 19 a game on a decent percentages, grabs 6 or 7 boards and plays mediocre defense, then why wouldnt we want to keep him at 6 mil a season?

  • Greg

    + saying you prefer Johnson over Beasley?

    No way beasley has shown his celing. Guy has averaged 22 and 6 on 48% shooting and 42% from 3 over a two month span before. That is Carmelo like numbers on better much efficiency. We have not seen the celing of Beasley. This could be the year, or the beginning of a sustained production. He is a smooth scorer that can take guys one on one…..Johnson cant take guys one on one and he is not a smooth scorer. Beasley can be a g0-to guy that can potentially win (or lose) games for us based on his performance. Johnson isnt a game changer, and he will just blend in, giving us even less production then Beasley.

  • Scott

    @Greg -

    Good to know about the durability of Frye’s shoulder, post-surgery. I tend to be somewhat suspicious of claims that surgery will make something better than it ever was before, but I can’t deny your personal experience with it.

    As for Beasley, *I* did not sign him, nor would I have. I’ve said from the start that I opposed the signing. If the Suns intended to get Beasley – “because he is a major talent” – they should have picked him up for a song when Miami was trying to deal him and the Suns needed a PF, post-Amare. I suggested it at the time, figuring at that price it was worth the gamble. Instead, the Suns picked up Turkoglu and Warrick.

    A few years later, after Beasley’s performance hasn’t greatly improved but his price tag has tripled, NOW the Suns decide they can’t live without him …? Feh.

    Plus, after they signed Beasley, they got Scola, and now they have to figure out how to make room for Beasley at SF, where people say he doesn’t play as well.

    So understand where my comment is coming from.

    I have no problem with you liking Beasley and thinking he’s the next LeBron or whatever it is you think. I’m just expressing my skepticism. It’s up to Beasley to prove me wrong, and I hope he does.

    I don’t expect the Suns to trade him; certainly not right away. But I do see the signing as an “Aaron Brooks” type move, where they’re sweet on him at the start, and then they realize that what they bought doesn’t fit and have remorse.

    As for me liking Johnson better, I did include the “lol” to indicate a wry laughter.

    I see Beasley as an offensive player who can create his own shot when he’s at the 4, who can dunk, and who can shoot the 3. From what people say, I’m not sure if Beasley can create his shot when he’s at the 3, against faster, more agile defenders. If I have it right, playing at the position the Suns plan to use him at, he earned a PER of 13, which is below average. (Lopez has a PER of 15, yet a lot of fans hate him.) Beasley’s young, 23, but he’s been in the league now for 4 years, so what we see should be pretty much what we get.

    I see Johnson as a defensive SF who can shoot the 3 and dunk, but who cannot create his own shot. So he sounds similar to Beasley when he’s at SF, but with defense. Johnson earned a dismal PER of 8, but he was playing out of position, in a manner that didn’t allow him to make full use of his offensive skills. Despite being older, 25, he’s only been in the league for 2 years, so he may still be adapting to NBA play.

    When you consider that the Suns signed Beasley for $6m/year for 3 years, and they’d have Johnson for 1 year at $4m plus a pick … I think the Johnson deal is the better deal if they plan to play him at SF. If Johnson can contribute on defense and hit the 3, and cut for the occasional lob, that’s the sort of thing the Suns need, as they like to spread the floor for the PG/center pick and roll.

    Obviously, if Beasley can do his offensive thing at the 3, and if he can defend at the 3, then he’s the winner. But what I hear from others and see in his PER is that he has tried and he can’t do it.

  • Scott

    @Greg -

    BTW, Carmelo’s PER is 21.

  • Greg

    @ Scott Whoa whoa lol, never said anything about Lebron. I said he has put up carmelo type numbers for a 2 month stretch before. Beasley scored 19.2 ppg in 2010, 2011 was a season in which he was injured off and on and he fell out of favor with Adelman. Last year, as hard as it is to do, you just need to overlook because it wasnt the type of season you expect an immature 23 year old to handle very well.

    I feel Beasley was being legit when he spoke on his improved work ethic and his work with Norm Nixon may payy huge dividends. He can shoot, he can jam, and he has the length to defend, he just needs to get his lateral quickness up, which may have been improved this off-season.

    With 32-35 mins a game, I can realistically scoring around 20 points, with around 5-7 boards, and shooting percentages closer to 2010 then 2011. At 23, with improved work ethic and focus, his defense may become above average, or atleast average. that player in my opinion is worth 6 million a season, on any team.

    But like you said, its up to him to answer these questions.

    Johnson is a defensive SF…well thats what his scouting report says coming into the league. So far, he has been solid at best. his defense is not a huge upgrade from Beasleys. Dont remember the numbers but i looked them up the other day. beasley is a better shooter then johnson, in my opinion, and the percentages show that as well.

    Saying Beasley is what he is after 4 years may be a little pessimistic. 19-23 is a tough age for anyone, let alone a professional basketball player, former number 2 pick that had high expectations. People already have written him off as a bust, so there is no pressure to do to much in PHX. With the confidence of the staff and org. and pairing with a young PG like Goran, i think he will do well.

    He has had his maturity issues, and i feel he may be on the path to a nice NBA career, although not Lebron nice lol.

    Just my opinion, Im happy with the signing. agreed 2 years ago would have been cheaper and nicer, but cant do anything about it now. We have a guy who has proven he can score near 20 a game, for 6 mil. I dont mind that, despite his defensive deficincies.

  • Greg

    @ scott, im not saying he is carmelo, go look at his 2 month stretch in 2010, not his PER (i never spoke on that) his points, percentages and rebounding is comparable (actually on better %) then Carmelo was this year.

    Like i said, I am not an idiot, I am aware Beasley wont be, and isnt Carmelo. I am just saying Beasley has show big time scoring ability when he has been healthy and has had regular minutes.

  • Greg

    and if you want to compare PERs, Beasley’s first two years in the league were almost identical to Carmelo’s first two years in the league

    17.3 and 16.2 for Beasley, and 17.6 and 16.8 for Carmelo.

    Carmelo took the leap, Beasley took the fall, but their circumstances were total opposites. Beasley still has hope, but if he doesnt show some improvement this year, I will close the door on him also.

  • Scott

    @Greg -

    In 2010, was Beasley playing at PF or SF? Or a mix? IIRC (and I may not), in 2010-11 when the Suns played against the Wolves, Beasley played a fair number of minutes at PF.

    In 2010-2011 – the season you cite as his best season – he had a PER of 15, same as Lopez last year. In that year, critics said he could not handle or pass well, he lacked the athleticism to cope with SFs, and should play at PF.

    Here’s an example:

    http://firejerrykill.com/2011/12/01/the-beasley-question/

  • Scott

    @Greg -

    It sounds like everyone knows Beasley can score when at PF, but then they turn around and put him at SF.

  • Scott

    @Greg -

    Also, if you’re looking at the trajectory of Beasley’s PER and believing he’s going to improve …

    Beasley: 17.28, 16.16, 15.54, 13.11

    What is his likely PER in the next year? ;)

  • Greg

    I dont disagree with you on where he should play @ Scott, that hasnt been the issue. I think he should be a PF despite the Sun’s plans for him to be the 3. I have never denied the physical evidence pointing to that.

    However, with improved work ethic, focus.maturity and fixing some of his many weaknesses, although fair, I think its wrong to assume he cant make an adjustment as a 23/24 year old that features the athleticism he has. Not saying athleticism=success/improvement, thats where hopefully his:
    “6 am to 4pm, gym, running, shooting, more gym, more shooting, 2 types of martial arts, ballet and yoga” come into play.

    Or maybe he was blowing smoke up our asses, no pun intended.

  • Greg

    I see your point on PER, i noticed that scary trend. But he went from a 4 in Miami, to a terrible team in Minnesota, and he was oft playing out of position. He went from a decent Miami Heat team to a horrid Timberwolves team, surrounded by no veteran presence and an extreme lack of talent.

    Its fair to say his environment and personal choices were the main reasons for his decline in PER, not his ability as an athlete and as a basketball player.

    As a young kid, going from top prospect playing next to D-Wade to playing on the Timberwolves can do much to help his inspiration to work hard and his overall attitude.

    No way he gets worse then 13 PER, you cant be any worse with the talent he has. , and as i mentioned, last year was an outlier in my opinion, alot of circumstances led to his performance.

    I see a realistic return to around 15 or 16. wjhich is fair to assume, and hopefully more so beyond year 1

  • Scott

    Well, then you probably understand why I wrote what I did about Johnson possibly being a better choice for the SF spot.

    FWIW, Beasley is probably a better choice for backup PF, but the Suns signed him to too large of a contract for that (a pattern they’ve had). Rule of thumb: a tweener is a backup.

    If the Suns had offered Beasley $4m a year with the idea of playing him as starting PF only if they didn’t get a true PF, then it would make sense.

    And if they’re thinking they can drop Lopez, and play Morris at 2nd C, with Beasley at PF, till Frye heals up, then that makes sense.

    But signing Beasley to $6m and playing him at SF makes no sense.

    If the Suns really ARE thinking of playing Beasley at PF, and are looking for another SF, then James Johnson ($2.8m/1 yr) at Sacramento fits the need and the dollar figure for the proposed Lopez trade. However, seeing as the Kings paid a 2nd round pick to get him, they’ll need a similar inducement + something to let him go.

  • Greg

    2nd round picks are garbage, i dont think that would be a problem.

    I feel like we thought we were debating two different things, but i understand your points and hopefully you understand mine. However, Wesley Johnson had an 8 PER, I dont care if he was playing out of position or not, thats pretty horrid, so not sure if he would be “better” then Beasley. but who knows.

    Positive: By the trade deadline, if Beasley is underperforming at the 3, which I think he will improve, but still be less of a force at the 3 then the 4, then the Suns do have a very attractive Luis Scola they can move.

    A contender/playoff team would love to have Scola at about 4.5 mil a season. He could start for alot of teams or play a crucial bench role. That would open up time for Beasley, increasing his productivity too.

    I like Scola, but at 32 and a 3 year deal, he is very expendable. Obviously building for the future, Beasley at the 4 makes more sense then Scola, but im not knocking the Scola pickup

  • Scott

    @Greg -

    I agree a PER of 8 is scary. But consider that Martell Webster, who played well at Portland, also got dismal numbers (PER 10) playing at SG in the Minnesota system. And he’s got a game that actually works for SG, unlike WJ, who is really locked into being a SF.

    So the low SG numbers in Minnesota might be at least in part due to system and personnel.

    As for Scola, I’ve heard on VotS that he cannot be traded till next summer. (See posts #79 and #82 in this thread.)

  • Scott

    Here’s some more comments by Wolves fans/critics on Johnson and Beasley, mainly about how both players were out of position. (As was Martell Webster, a natural SF whose game was better suited to SG than Johnson, but he just didn’t have the needed speed, which matches my recollection.)

    Johnson:
    Shooting guard has been the weakest position for the Timberwolves for years and it remains so heading into the 2011-2012 season’s free-agency period. Wesley Johnson is a natural 3 who was miscast as a jump shooter in Rambis’ mess of an offense. Johnson is at his best in transition and when he attacks the basket with his length and athleticism, but last season 89% of his shots were jumpers. Unless he sees a shift back to the 3 he should continue to struggle.

    Beasley:
    Gambling on Beasley was a perfectly logical move, but so far as a Timberwolf he hasn’t impressed. He did put up 19.2 PPG last season, but it took a 28.3 usage rate to get him there. Beasley finished at #10 in the league for usage rate just ahead of Dirk Nowitzki. Yes, Minnesota gave Beasley more of their offensive opportunities than Dallas did Dirk Nowitzki.

    In terms of efficiency giving over a quarter of your looks to a player who is barely above average in offensive efficiency (15.5 PER in 2010-2011) is not going to win you many games.

    If Minnesota’s going to win at all this year Beasley cannot continue to take that many shots or absorb that many minutes at SF. His 19.3 opponent PER was miserable and speaks to his inability to keep up laterally with quick 3s.

    http://firejerrykill.com/2011/12/01/timberwolves-roster-overview/

  • Greg

    Oh i didnt not realize that about Scola. Regardless, if the Suns are performing poorly, as is Beasley at the 3, reducing Scola’s minutes slightly to increase Beasley’s time at the 4 would be beneficial. Scola would then become a nice trade piece entering free agency next year, and if the Suns dont plan on him remaining for full 3 years, adjusting Beasley and Scola’s roles would make sense to accomodate, but not to the point of hurting Scola’s value. It would be a tough mix for Gentry.

    I never disagreed with the reports/comments on beasley. He has been a ball-hog that has underperformed. However, my whole stance has been on the fact that a change of scenery, maturity, and work-ethic can go a long, long way.

    Just because Beasley has been average, and then below average, the last two years, does not mean the young man cant make positive adjustments in his game. I am sure the people around him now will let Beasley know that point too (that he cant take bad shots just to get his). An adjusted offensive mindset, Beasley can use the skills he has to be a quality scorer with a less usage rate. Consider though, Dirk was on a championship team, top player or not, his usage rate will go down due to other options. Beasley was the best scorer on that team other than Love, so Beasley was going to have a higher usage rate.

    Arguement has never been that Beasley has been good, or has done things well at the 3, or even at the 4 in his career. My stance is that he has the upside, he has the talent, and all of the reasons I mentioned above can cause Beasley to do a 180.