Phoenix Suns complete Robin Lopez trade for Wesley Johnson, first-rounder

The Phoenix Suns finally completed their complicated three-team trade with New Orleans and Minnesota on Friday in which they acquired swingman Wesley Johnson and a protected first-round pick for Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick, according to a Suns release.

The Suns also received the contracts of New Orleans’ Brad Miller and Jerome Dyson and had to send out the 2014 second-rounder acquired from the Lakers and cash — money that came from the Steve Nash deal, according to Paul Coro — to make the trade work.

New Orleans also sent Minnesota a pair of second-rounders (one in 2013 and one in 2016) to complete the trade.

The first-rounder possesses a number of protections that we will explain in further detail later, but it can be not be in the top 13 the next two years and the top 12 the two years after that. The pick could come from Memphis (who owes the Wolves a lottery-protected pick) or Minnesota depending on when each pick conveys and which is lowest.

Miller, who is owed $848K in guaranteed money, and Dyson (non-guaranteed) will be waived by Phoenix. Miller announced his retirement before the end of this past season.

After getting a hold of the actual CBA, we learned that Miller and Dyson could be aggregated in the same deal because Miller was acquired into cap space. Players can only not be aggregated for two months when they are traded via an exception. The actual hold-up in the trade had to do with draft pick protections.

  • 7SecondsOrLess

    Wow. Is Jerome Dyson good?

  • Animan

    It’s about time. I am quite happy. Now we can use Dyson as trade bait as well, if we don’t waive him immediately that is. I’m truly excited for Wesley Johnson, perfect back-up to Beasley.

  • Matt

    No not really

  • Jeremiah

    Don’t think the Suns have any interest in keeping Dyson.

  • Scott

    I liked Robin and Hakim, but they weren’t used properly for most of their time in Phoenix. I wish them well in their new situation.

    And while I was initially aghast at the idea of the Suns acquiring Wesley Johnson – with his PER of 8 – after some research the idea has grown on me … provided they play him at SF.

    If the Suns have backed off a bit on Beasley and decide to play the roster more the following way, it makes sense to me.

    Starters: Dragic, Brown, Dudley, Scola, Gortat

    In this unit, Brown is the secondary scoring alternative to Gortat, with Dragic, Scola, and Dudley providing efficient offense in support. Dragic, Brown, and Dudley also spread the floor for the two big men, and Dudley covers for Brown on defense.

    2nd unit: Marshall, Tucker, Johnson, Beasley, Morris/Frye

    Here Beasley is the #1 option on offense, and whoever is at center (Morris/Frye) has the ability to pull opposing C’s out of the paint for Beasley. Johnson, Tucker, and Marshall can help spread the floor, with either Morris/Frye or Johnson being significant options on the perimeter.

    I know Beasley fans will object to him not starting, but this is the only way to get him at PF now that Scola has been added.

  • Cam

    Just read a little write up on Dyson. It seems to me that his play is very similar to Bassy. His game is predicated upon his defense more than his offensive ability. That was just what I could find with a quick google search on him. I’m not even sure what his contract situation is but I would assume, being a D-league call up the year prior, that it is not guaranteed. Go Suns.

  • archie

    dudley will not start over beasly

  • BurnBabyBurn

    Goodbye Lopez and Warrick, you will not be missed.

  • Andy

    Does anyone know when the Suns have to make a decision on waiving Miller? Or, more to the point, how long our window in which we can aggregate his contract in a trade and still keep the possibility of not paying the remainder if no deal surfaces would be? Thanks in advance.

  • Jeremiah

    Agree that Dudley won’t start over Beasley. Right not the suns don’t have a legit backup SG and Dudley is the closest thing they have to a SG besides Brown. By no means is Tucker a SG whatsoever, did you see him play in SL? He is an undersized PF that might see some SF minutes, but not much.

    My lineups would be something like this.

    Dragic – Brown – Beasley – Scola – Gotat

    Marshall – Dudley – Johnson – Morris – Frye

    Granted Frye could be out for a while, but this is how I see it until Frye comes back or they make a move to get another back up center.

  • Ty-Sun

    Brad Miller is retiring and the Suns will just buyout the last year of his contract for around $800,000.

  • Scott

    I really liked this trade at first. I still think it’s okay but the restrictions on the pick are ridiculous. We don’t really seem to do well when receiving picks in a trade. 1st’s from the Lakers? Might as well be a 2nd. This pick is so protected it will be 2nds. It seems like we could do a bit better in this area. I see deals go down all the time where picks are less protected then after a couple years they are unprotected, or they get less protected in time. Top 3 etc. As I ramble I don’t want you to take me wrong though. I think this is the best off season in Sarvers tenor. Not saying much but a step in the right direction.

  • Jeremiah

    The pick is coming from Memphis and will likely be outside of the lottery this year anyways.

  • Ty-Sun

    I believe even which pick we get might be conditional. We get whichever pick is lower, Memphis’ or Minnesota’s .

  • Scott

    @jeremiah I hope so. :-)

  • Ty-Sun

    The way I see it is that Dragic, Beasley, Scola and Gortat are certain starters. Whoever starts at the 2 will be determined at training camp and/or during the preseason.

    With Frye out for the beginning of the season, Gentry might actually have Beasley start at the 4 and have Scola come off the bench as Gortat’s backup for a while unless the Suns can find a fairly reliable backup 5 in the FA scraps that are left. I’m sure that Beasley will see some time at the 4 but I think that they are planning to use him mainly at the 3.

    This team impresses me as having the potential to be very flexible. We have a lot of players that can play 2 positions and it’s a younger team. I will be shocked if this team doesn’t finish the season around .500 but not shocked at all if it wins 50 this year. Although there are a lot of “ifs” surrounding the team and it’s players, I’m still optimistic about this season.

  • 7SecondsOrLess

    They will likely waive Dyson. He doesnt have any guarantees so his buyout is $0

  • Andy

    I understand that we have that possibility, and that it may even be what we do immediately. But, Miller’s contract is a valuable trade chip (as we just saw) right up until the moment it is guaranteed. I would hope the Suns don’t waive it until that point, as it would be tossing as asset away that we don’t have to get rid of.

    Like I’ve said on other threads, if there’s a window where we have the capability to trade Miller and Johnson’s contracts without having guaranteed Miller’s deal, I think we can put together some really tempting offers to Orlando for Howard. (And even if we’re restricted to moving them both individually, there are some other, albeit less appealing to us, possibilities.) In fact, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’m fairly sure we can beat almost any other realistic offer on the table. Even if Orlando is only focused on picks and doesn’t value Gortat, we can send Gortat to Cleveland just as easily as LA can send Bynum there, if not more so. (Especially since Gortat is way cheaper, signed for two years, and likely will be easier to resign.) And since we can pay most of the price of the deal ourselves, we wouldn’t have to ask for nearly as much as the Lakers demand that they send out. Even if Gortat only fetched Cleveland’s first, the Miami first they are holding, and expiring contracts, I think we start to get really close to being able to trump most of the offers that Houston can make.

  • bk

    I still don’t understand. How can the t-wolves create a $10M space in this trade for signing AK47?

  • Mr. Cruncher


    I couldn’t agree more with your assessment. The Suns are flexible and many players are “position less” so to speak. Kicking the season off with Scola as the backup 5 is a distinct possibility, if Frye or a reliable backup center is not available, like you mentioned.

    It’s hard to envision this team breaking into the cream of the crop in the West — Thunders, Spurs, Lakers, Clippers, Grizzlies. But, I don’t see any reason to believe we can’t again compete with the rest of the teams for one of the final three playoff spots. A lot of parity exists after the top five teams (aside from possibly the Nuggets who may continue their ascent) and anything can happen.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Andy – Somehow NO was actually able trade Miller’s contract when they shouldn’t have been able to do it. No one knows why yet but it should NOT have been able to be included in a multi-player trade. It could still be valuable as a trade chip later but it will also count against the Suns on the salary cap until they either buy him out or are able to trade his contract. This a question that someone with much more knowledge of the CBA than me needs to answer. My response to you was based on the info that I’ve read here and elsewhere that the Suns were simply planning on buying out his contract once the trade was completed. If there is a better option than that, I’m sure they will explore it.

    As for trying to bring Dwight Howard to Phoenix by way of a trade with Orlando… NO!!! The Suns would have to give up WAY too much to even have a chance at getting him here and if they gave up all that then he probably wouldn’t stay. If you really want Howard here the best thing to do is make the Suns as good as possible this year while leaving enough cap room for next year to make a max offer to him and hope he see’s the potential good in signing with Phoenix. Bringing him to a team and then surrounding him with substandard players is just reinventing Orlando… the team he’s already said he wants to be traded from.

  • Melon Man

    I don’t want to say that I don’t understand the fascination with Howard because I do. That being said, I have no interest in seeing him as a Sun.

  • GorillaFan

    This season depends on the development of Beasley … if he can be a go-to scorer and average 22-23 ppg a game, Suns will be a 7-8 seed. Otherwise, they will be lottery bound.

  • sksyoshi

    to those of you who do not understand how NO traded Miller’s contract you need to reread this article.
    D12 is a foolish silly idea that is not even close to possible and would set us back for yrs if we did do it.
    the fact that in the end we had to give a pick away to make this happen saddens me but over all I see the point to these moves which is way better than a lot of our old moves.

  • Andy

    Yes, I understand about combining contracts. That’s why I’m asking the question – whether or not we can hold onto the contract, without guaranteeing it, long enough that it can then be packaged, shapes how easily we can make an offer.

    If we can keep Miller long enough to include him, an offer of Gortat, Johnson, Miller, Marshall, and Morris is enough to bring back Duhon, Richardson, Davis, and Howard. We can add in our 2013, the Memphis 2013, the Lakers 2013, and Lakers 2015, and have a deal pretty close to what we’re hearing about from Houston. Additionally, if Orlando preferred, we can throw in Frye and Telfair to take back Turkoglu, saving them an additional couple million over the life of those contracts (though spreading it out over an additional year for them – I imagine they’d rather not, but it’s possible). The same principle applies to any deal where we instead swap Gortat to a team for picks and expiring contracts – just send anything you think Gortat can fetch on an open market over to Orlando. (The most obvious one I can think of I mentioned above. That’s including Cleveland, who could give us a lottery pick and and at least one of several other stockpiled lesser picks, and have expiring contracts that match Gortat almost perfectly.)

    That brings Howard here with a team of Dragic, Richardson, Dudley, Scola, Howard, Frye or Hedo, Beasley, Brown, Davis, and Duhon/Telfair. The only starter we’d give up is Gortat, to add two clear upgrades in Richardson and Howard. On Orlando’s end, we’d take back every bad contract Orlando wants to get rid of, send them a ton of picks, and either one pick as good as the Toronto pick or Gortat. Based on the optimism I’ve seen from you about the team to this point, I imagine under that scenario you’d see the team as having quite a bit more potential than “reinventing Orlando”!

  • Greg

    No matter what the starting line ups are, Gentry is going to have a mess on his hands trying to find everyone minutes. Not many teams run 10 or 11 man rotations, as some post are suggesting.

    Goran needs 35+ mins a night, Marshall will get his scraps.

    Dudley deserves 25-30 mins, leaving Brown with around 20.

    Beasley should get 30-35 mins, unless he is the player of last year, which i dont think he will. Johnson gets the other 15ish

    Scola needs around 30 minimum, so Morris gets about 15ish

    Gortat gets his 32, leaving Frye with about 15ish

    No available minutes for Telfair or Tucker at all. In my opinion, Frye and Morris will need more then 15 mins each. So minutes will be pulled from Beasley/Scola/Dudley. Only player that is a locked for high minutes is Goran and Gortat needs his 32….

    In the NBA, not every position needs a legit back up. The rotation is too crowded. I thought Dudley could have handled both the 2 and 3 back up spots, with Brown and Beasley starting at the 2-3, but thats a terrible defensive wing combo..

    Gentry will have his hands full/tied trying to get everyone the minutes they deserve. In my opinion, Johnson isnt very good, but im sure he will get minutes, which will be taken from better players.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Mr. Cruncher – There is a remote possibility that the Suns could in fact be a top contender this year. If Beasley finally lives up to his potential and Dragic plays at the same level he did as a starter for the Rockets then we are looking very good. If Scola can just play as well as he did last season, we are looking good. If Gortat plays as well as he did last season with his new teammates, we are looking good.

    There are so many “ifs” this season that I can hardly count them all. There are also “ifs” about how Marshall, Brown, Morris, Johnson, Frye and Tucker will play and fit in with this team this year. Dudley is probably the one guy we can count on to NOT be an “if” this year. I know that he will give his all no matter what role he is given on this team. I’m counting on him more than anyone else to be the leader of this team. If he starts at the 2 or winds up as the backup 2 or 3, I think he will do a lot for this team both on and off the court.

  • barkley34

    I think the she-wolves improve alot this season with La Pistola, Love and AK47. If Roys knees hold up they might even be good enough to ship us back a 1st pick! Here’s to the tea-wolves!

  • Jason A.

    @Ty Sun

    I love the thought, but even in my wildest dreams I don’t see us being a contender. Or starters are the following:


    There are few possibilities other than the above. Dudley deserves to start for his leadership, service to the franchise, and his defensive ability. He also won’t require the ball and plays a good yin to Beasley’s yang. Beasley is not coming off the bench at $6 mil a year. Pairing Brown and WJ achieves the same balance. Brown becomes a go to scorer and with Marshall’s passes, Morris and WJ should thrive. We’ll see.

  • GorillaFan

    Beasley should get at least 35 min … he is by far the most talented player on the team, might as well give him a chance and see if he cashes in, its not like we’re going to compete for a championship this year.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Andy – No, I really do not see what you envision as much more than reinventing Orlando. I admit that it’s a little better but Howard has already said that he is going to become a FA next year and will not sign an extension with any team. That makes a lot of financial sense for him because a new contract is worth much more money to him than a contract extension. It’s just a gamble that I don’t want the Suns to make. That’s my opinion. It is different than yours and I hope you don’t take any offense because our opinions differ. You might be right but I don’t think it’s worth the risk.

  • GorillaFan

    I think Goran, Beasley, Gortat should get 35+ minutes, Scola 30+, Dudley 25+, everyone else (Brown, Johnson, Marshall, Morris, Frye) 10-15 minutes.

    Some people will be unhappy, but nobody says its easy to be a coach.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Jason A. – Those ARE my wildest dreams for the Suns. :) I don’t expect them to come true but we all can still dream!

  • Andy

    So you think, as currently constructed, we have a chance to be a title contender.. but you think moving Gortat for Howard makes us “reinvented Orlando”? I really don’t understand how you can hold those two thoughts simultaneously.

    And as to a new contract versus an extension – actually, Howard stands to make significantly more money via extension with the team he is with when the season ends than via a new contract. (Whether he signs that contract the moment he arrives, or that summer.) If we traded for him and he leaves us, he would be leaving contract money on the table to do it. We already know a few teams are positioning themselves to offer him a maximum deal, but we also know that neither Brooklyn nor the Lakers can do so. I’m willing to take the chance that with the line-up described above, if we’re going up against a team like Atlanta or Dallas, with worse teams and able to offer less money, we’d at least have a realistic chance. Given that I don’t see any realistic path to a title on our current path (that doesn’t go through the draft) I’m very happy to take that chance. We can definitely agree to disagree, everyone has a different value on a title or tolerance for risk.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Andy – As I actually said, there is a “remote possibility” that the Suns could be a “top contender this year”. There is also a remote possibility the the Charlotte Bobcats could be a top contender this year. In context what I was saying was that IF a lot of our players performed above what they’ve done in the past with other teams, then yes, the Suns could be contenders this year.

    And NO player will make MORE money signing a contract extension than signing a new contract UNLESS he signs a new contract with the team he is currently signed with. That would give the Suns an advantage in re-signing Howard because he could sign a contract for an extra year but a contract extension is different. Players who extend their contracts may get max money but the YEARS of the contract extension are limited more by the CBA. Howard stands to make a better long term contract deal by waiting until he becomes a FA instead of signing a contract extension. He will get a max deal from whichever team is willing but the difference between signing a new contract and an extension could mean 1-2 years on the contract length.

  • Ty-Sun

    And if it was just about the money, Howard would re-sign with Orlando. He wants a ring. He wants the money too but he also wants the ring. Phoenix can try to trade away their future to rent Howard for a year and maybe they can even keep him beyond that. My point is that it is just a risk that I don’t think that they should take.

  • Andy

    As per Coon’s FAQ:
    “17. Are there exceptions to the maximum salary?

    Yes. In multi-year contracts only the first season’s salary is subject to the maximum, but there are restrictions about how big raises can be from year to year (see question number 53).

    A player in his fifth season can qualify for higher than the 0-6 year (25%) maximum, and up to the 7-9 year (30%) maximum if he has met at least one of the following criteria (called the “5th Year 30% Max Criteria”):

    Been named the NBA Most Valuable Player.
    Been named to the All-NBA First, Second or Third team twice.
    Been voted-in as an All-Star starter twice.
    In order to be eligible for the higher maximum the player must re-sign with his own team for at least four years, and cannot re-sign as part of a sign-and-trade transaction (see question number 88).”

    If I understand correctly (certainly no sure thing), since Howard meets those conditions, he is eligible for the 5th year and extra salary in an extension. Since 6 year contracts aren’t allowed, and the extension begins from the end of the previous contract, there shouldn’t be a difference in length between the longest extension Howard is eligible for and the longest contract he can sign.

  • Scott L


    I’d much rather have Marshall, Gortat, Morris, Johnson and all those First rounders than the biggest cry baby in Pro Sports for 1 year and all those other old declining players you mentioned. Dwight is a great player but he’s in no way worth what it would take to bring him in. Most likely Minnesota or Memphis will be the 8 seed this year which would give us the 15th or 16th pick, we most likely will finish in the lottery this year as our new team has playoff talent but will need a year to gel. That leaves the Lakers 1st rounder which will probably be a late first rounder, but given the age of the stars on their team and the injury history of Bynum I in no way will rule out a combination of them getting hurt and running out of gas half way through the year. With Kobe and Gasol both not taking time to rest their old legs this off season I definitely see them getting hurt or not being 100% next season. Couple that with Bynum having the worst knees in the game and Nash not having the Suns miracle working training staff, I see a 50/50 chance next years Lakers pick being lottery bound.

    Now all the players you want to send to Orlando. I love Kendall Marshall and in no way would support him being traded for anyone but Durant or LeBron, and I don’t see that happening. Marshall had a rough first 3 games in the summer league but showed what he can do in the last game once he got comfortable. While he does need to work on his shot it’s really not as bad as some people make it out to be, and with his unmatched court vision and passing ability it would be a mistake to trade him before we give him time to develop. Gortat may not be Dwight Howard but he’s no slouch averaging 15 and 10 while playing great D. Morris is the one that intrigues me the most, there is defiantly a chance he busts but after seeing his hustle in the SL and hearing all the coachs rave about his work ethic and improvement I want to see what he can do when given consistent minutes. He has the type of game that fits what the Suns do perfectly, and If Morris develops I see him being a big part of our future as a PF who can rebound, block shots, post up but most importantly stretch the floor and knock down the 3. Johnson I’m not as sure about right now because I’ve only seen him play once, but he has a chance at developing into a pretty good SF or SG and we have the perfect system for him to thrive in.

    Combine Gortat with the upside at PG Marshall has, a much improved Morris, Johnson and all those picks, Thats just way to much to give up for a 6’11″ cry baby who most likely will bolt next year anyway.

  • Ty-Sun

    Lol. Honestly, whether the Suns engineer some sort of trade for Howard is the least of my worries. I love the Suns but whether they finish at the top of the West or the bottom will not pay any of my bills, mow my yard or make more than the slightest difference in my life. I post here because I – thankfully – have too much time time on my hands… and because I love the Suns.

  • Andy

    Those are all perfectly valid opinions. (Though I think you have pretty optimistic views on a lot of those pieces.) Still, I think it’s far more likely that there’s not enough in this offer than that we would be surrendering too much.

    Sure, I think that’s true for all of us. And, of course, it’s certainly not a likely outcome by any stretch. I just hope the front office does their due diligence on it. I just think that any move that can short-cut the process of getting us the kind of player that can be a centerpiece on a title team is worth a shot.

  • Ty-Sun

    If the Suns can engineer a trade for Howard without giving away the team’s future, then they should go for it. I just don’t think that any team will be able to make a reasonable deal for Howard now. If he was a ticket to an NBA championship, why doesn’t Orlando already have 2-3 championship banners hanging in their stadium?

  • joey

    i would only give orlando gortat, dudley, marshall, and 2 1st rd picks. no more than that

  • Greg

    @ Scott L.

    There is no chance in hell the Lakers pick will be lottery bound. If two of the four (kobe, bynum, gasol, nash) are healthy the Lakers will be in the playoffs 100%. Metta World Peace can still defend, Jamison can still score, Steve Blake is an adequate back up PG,Jordan Hill is a talented big an off bench,McRoberts can play a little.

    Like i said, any combo of their big 4 is enough to be a playoff team, in my opinion. No way 3 or 4 of them perform poorly or get hurt.

  • JT’s Hoops Blog

    I am so happy for Lopez. Finally he will have a chance to show what he has got and he will have plenty of opportunity to do so with this young team. Let’s see if the change of scenery will help Wesley Johnson too. His play has been less than spectacular after being picked third in the NBA draft.

  • Suns4life

    The starters are gonna be Dragic-Johnson-Beasly-Scola-Gortat and we need a back up center frye is too weak in the paint leave him at pf

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