Robin Lopez

Southeast Notes: Lopez, Pasecniks, Crowder, Hawks Crowds, Bogdanovic

Veteran Robin Lopez has moved into the Wizards’ starting lineup due to the season-ending loss of center Thomas Bryant but the rotation will be flexible, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. Moritz Wagner will get some opportunities and power forward Rui Hachimura could man the middle in small-ball sets. The Wizards also have Anzejs Pasecniks on the roster.

“It’s going to definitely be by committee,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • There’s a good reason why the Wizards should take a closer look at Pasecniks, Hughes writes in a separate story. His $1,517,981 contract becomes fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster past January 31. A 2017 first-round pick, the 7’2” Pasecniks could help a defense that has been lacking in the early portion of the season, Hughes adds.
  • It has become more perplexing that the Heat didn’t make a strong push to re-sign Jae Crowder, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. They made Crowder a large, one-year offer in order to protect their cap space this summer but the forward chose more long-term security by inking a three-year, $29.2MM contract with the Suns. The Heat have cycled through Maurice Harkless, Meyers Leonard, Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk in the power forward rotation and could have enjoyed more stability with Crowder, Winderman adds.
  • The Hawks have pushed back the targeted return of ticketed fans at State Farm Arena to January 26 due to COVID-19 concerns, according to a team press release. The Hawks will open at 10% capacity (approximately 1,700 tickets) before gradually increasing throughout the season, pending adequate conditions.
  • A medical expert interviewed by The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner estimates that Bogdan Bogdanovic will miss 4-6 weeks due to the avulsion fracture in his right knee, assuming surgery isn’t required. In Bogdanovic’s absence, Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish will assume bigger roles, Kirscher adds.

Thomas Bryant Suffers Torn ACL

An MRI performed this morning on Wizards center Thomas Bryant confirmed that he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Thomas was injured during the first quarter of Saturday’s game with Miami and had to be helped off the court by trainers.

Bryant, 23, was averaging a career-best 14.3 PPG, along with 6.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocks through 10 games. He will probably need nine to 12 months to recover and will be heading into a contract year, notes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports (Twitter link). Bryant will make $8,666,667 in 2021/22 and will be a free agent following that season.

Veteran Robin Lopez will probably take over as the starting center, Hughes adds (Twitter link), and the injury creates an opportunity for Moritz Wagner, who was recently removed from the rotation. Wagner has gotten into just four games this season and is averaging 11.5 minutes per night.

Washington will likely apply for a disabled player exception to offset the loss, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. It would be valued at roughly $4.2MM, which is half of Bryant’s salary for this season. Marks notes that the Wizards are currently $842K below the luxury tax line and don’t have a roster spot open. The deadline to apply is March 3 and it can be used until April 19.

The DPE can be used to sign a free agent, to claim a player off waivers, or to acquire a player in a trade. However, it can only be used on one player and can only accommodate a player on a one-year deal. A free agent signee can’t get a multiyear contract, and any trade or waiver target must be in the final year of his contract.

Southeast Notes: Rozier, Hawks, Wizards, Borrego

The big Hornets offseason acquisition of 2019, guard Terry Rozier, faces a new challenge in the 2020/21 season: acclimating to two key incoming pieces who will need touches in point guard LaMelo Ball and forward Gordon Hayward, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

“It just goes back to adjusting to what is best for the team — what can help us get better,” said Rozier, who cited the adjustment he made during the 2019/20 season to accommodate emergent Hornets point guard Devonte’ Graham. “I became a great catch-and-shoot guy last year. That’s adding to my game, doing multiple things.” 

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The College Park Skyhawks, G League affiliate of the Hawks, are among the several clubs anticipated to opt out of the proposed G League bubble season, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). The season is expected to transpire in the Atlanta area.
  • New Wizards reserve center Robin Lopez has joined the team for his first practice, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Meanwhile, newly-extended power forward Davis Bertans has arrived in D.C. and is expected to be cleared for practice by Saturday, according to Ava Wallace of the Washington Post (via Twitter). Wallace notes that visa problems delayed the big man’s arrival.
  • Now that the Hornets appear to be making a push for the play-in tournament and a crack at the playoffs, head coach James Borrego will exercise more caution in the freedom he gives young players this season, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer notes.

Wizards Notes: Beal, Bertans, Lopez, Westbrook, More

Ensuring that Bradley Beal wants to remain in Washington was a top priority for the Wizards as they made their offseason moves, including the blockbuster trade that brought Russell Westbrook to D.C. So did the acquisition of Westbrook have an impact on Beal’s desire to stick with the team?

“Honestly, I haven’t even thought about that. I haven’t,” Beal said, per Fred Katz of The Athletic. “My biggest thing is win now, you know? I wanna win.

“I’m here under contract for this year, next year and a player option, too. So, it’s just a matter of, we gotta win. And the organization knows that. It’s up to me, too, so I can’t just sit here and … look at (general manager Tommy Sheppard) like he’s crazy. I have to go out and lead the team, put in the work and get better every day and bring the results.”

As Katz writes, the Wizards have a tricky tightrope to walk, as they focus not only on building a roster capable of long-term success, but also on winning enough in the next year or two to convince Beal that he doesn’t need to move to a new team to contend.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • Davis Bertans and Robin Lopez haven’t yet been able to join the Wizards for practice, tweets Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Bertans was held up by visa issues, according to Wallace, who notes that the team also had one of its new players test positive for the coronavirus. There hasn’t been confirmation that the affected player was Lopez, but it sounds like that’s very possible.
  • The Wizards are counting on point guard Russell Westbrook, who is known for his competitiveness and tenacity, to help set the culture for their young roster, Wallace writes for The Washington Post.
  • Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said today that the starting small forward position will be “fluid,” with Troy Brown, Isaac Bonga, Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, and Jerome Robinson all among the options there, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Brooks also said today that the Wizards are close to a decision on whether or not to participate in the NBA G League’s proposed Atlanta bubble. He believes there’s a good chance the Wizards will opt in, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link).

Wizards Sign Robin Lopez

NOVEMBER 22: Lopez’s deal is now official, per a press release from the Wizards. It’s worth $7.3MM for one year, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.


NOVEMBER 20: The Wizards have agreed to a deal with free agent center Robin Lopez, marking their second transaction in free agency thus far, according to Yahoo Sports’ Keith Smith (Twitter link).

The agreement is a one-year deal, Smith adds (via Twitter). The exact value isn’t clear, but it’ll be worth less than the full mid-level exception of $9.258MM, fitting into that MLE.

Lopez, 32, joins the Wizards after spending one season with the Bucks. He averaged 5.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 14.5 minutes per game, seeing the least amount of playing time since the first few seasons of his career.

Lopez has played over 800 NBA games, making past stops with Phoenix, New Orleans, Portland, New York and Chicago. He’s expected to provide depth at center behind Thomas Bryant as the Wizards look to make a playoff push this season.

Washington had been searching for a defensive-minded back-up center, with Lopez holding 12 years of past NBA experience. The team also agreed to a five-year, $80MM deal with forward Davis Bertans on Friday.

Bucks’ Robin Lopez To Decline Option

Bucks reserve center Robin Lopez will decline his $5MM player option and become a free agent, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Lopez, 32, joined Milwaukee on a two-year, $9.2MM deal to back up his brother, Brook Lopez. Robin Lopez appeared in 66 regular season games last season, including five starts, and averaged 5.4 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 14.7 MPG. His playing time dropped dramatically in the postseason, as he only made three brief appearances.

Given his age and status as a role player, Lopez might be taking a gamble entering the free agent market. It suggests he’s confident he can get that amount or close to it in the open market or that he’s eager to get more playing time. Lopez had been a starter most of his career before his one-year stint with the Bucks.

Lopez’ decision frees up some much-needed cap space for Milwaukee, which is looking to make upgrades and convince Giannis Antetokounmpo to stay put.

Batum, DeRozan Among Players With Earlier Option Decision Deadlines

Most veterans who have player options in their contracts for the 2020/21 season will have an October 17 deadline to either exercise or decline that option. That Saturday represents the second-last day of the 2019/20 league year under the NBA’s new calendar, meaning it would coincide in a normal year with June 29, the usual player option decision deadline.

However, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, some of the players who have to make option decisions for 2020/21 have slightly earlier deadlines. For instance, if the Spurs don’t make the postseason, DeMar DeRozan will be required to make his decision within seven days of the team’s last game, per Marks.

The full list of player options for ’20/21 can be found on our free agents page, but here are the options which must be exercised or declined before October 17, according to Marks:

The rest of this season’s player option decisions must be made by October 17, a deadline that applies to nearly every team option for 2020/21 as well. The only team options with earlier decision dates are minimum-salary ones for Deonte Burton (Thunder) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Pistons), which are due by October 15, per Marks.

Bucks Sign Center Robin Lopez

JULY 12, 10:18pm: The signing is official, according to a team press release.

JUNE 30, 10:47pm: The Bucks are signing Robin Lopez, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Milwaukee re-signed his brother, Brook Lopez, earlier today.

Lopez will make approximately $9.77MM over the next two seasons, as Milwaukee is signing him via the room exception. The Bucks will not have access to any other exceptions this offseason, having used their bi-annual exception last offseason.

Lopez spent last season in Chicago, though for a large part of the year, it seems the team would work out a buyout arrangement with the big man and allow him to sign on with a contender. That never occurred and Lopez finished out his contract with the Bulls.

The Knicks were reportedly interested in signing Lopez to back up Mitchell Robinson. The center spent time with the team earlier in his career. He inked a four-year deal with the franchise when Phil Jackson was running the show in New York.

Charania’s Latest: Nets, D-Lo, Durant, Livingston, More

Kyrie Irving remains “fully focused” on a potential deal with the Nets, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says Brooklyn’s goal is to sign the trio of Irving, Kevin Durant, and DeAndre Jordan. If they can get Irving but Durant heads elsewhere, the Nets could shift their focus to players like Tobias Harris or Julius Randle, Charania writes.

As for D’Angelo Russell, league sources tell Charania that the expectation is the Nets will either renounce D-Lo’s rights or try to complete a sign-and-trade deal that sends him elsewhere. A sign-and-trade would be complicated, since Brooklyn may prefer to use its cap room on free agents rather than trade pieces in return for Russell.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers is tentatively scheduled to travel to New York this weekend to meet with Kevin Durant and his inner circle, league sources tell Charania. Durant is also expected to talk to the Knicks, Nets, and Clippers, though no formal meetings have been set, says Charania, who adds that there’s a belief that KD has considered the possibility of teaming up with Kawhi Leonard.
  • Shaun Livingston, who originally had a guarantee date of June 30 on his contract, has agreed to push that date back to July 10, reports Charania. Livingston has a partial guarantee of $2MM on his $7.7MM salary, and the Warriors now have more time to decide whether to retain him at that price.
  • With Kemba Walker appearing likely to sign elsewhere, the Hornets are focusing on other point guards like Terry Rozier, sources tell Charania. It’s not clear if Charlotte believes the mid-level would be enough to land Rozier, or if the team would attempt a sign-and-trade.
  • The Sixers remain “fully focused” on trying to re-sign Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, according to Charania, who notes that rival teams interested in Butler believe the fifth year Philadelphia can offer will be a major factor for the swingman and agent Bernie Lee. If the 76ers don’t offer that fifth year, it’s possible the market for Butler will open up.
  • The Knicks have targeted free agent center Robin Lopez as a potential backup for Mitchell Robinson, league sources tell Charania.
  • The Celtics intend to pursue a big man using their $4.8MM room exception, with Enes Kanter and Kevon Looney among their targets, per Charania.

Bulls Notes: Rose, Lopez, Markkanen, Harrison

Derrick Rose‘s latest injury decreases the chances that the Bulls will try to sign him next season, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune in an question-and-answer column. The Chicago native and former MVP revived his career in Minnesota this season, averaging 18.0 PPG and shooting 37% from 3-point range in 51 games. However, his season ended early again due to bone chips in his right elbow that required surgery last week.

Rose will be a free agent this summer after signing a one-year deal with the Timberwolves, and there was talk that the Bulls might be interested in pursuing him to settle their issues at point guard. In light of the injury, however, Johnson suggests Ricky Rubio, Darren Collison and Patrick Beverley as better targets.

There’s more Bulls news to pass along:

  • Chicago probably won’t be able to re-sign veteran center Robin Lopez, Johnson writes in the same column. Even though there’s some mutual interest, Lopez will be seeking a situation that offers regular playing time, and Wendell Carter is the Bulls’ center of the future. Coach Jim Boylen has also mentioned the possibility of using Lauri Markkanen at center and Otto Porter at small forward against smaller lineups, which leaves few available minutes for Lopez. Johnson notes that Bulls management likes team-first veterans, so they would try to find a similar player if Lopez leaves.
  • Injuries continue to derail the Bulls’ rebuilding process, observes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Markkanen is the latest player to be shut down for the rest of the season after “an episode of rapid heart rate and fatigue.” A source told Cowley that Markkanen was experiencing a rapid heart rate in the locker room during Tuesday’s game. His condition improved after showering and eating, but he became light-headed while waiting for the bus to the airport. Markkanen was limited to 68 games as a rookie because of back issues and managed only 52 games this year after being sidelined at the start of the season with an elbow injury.
  • Shaquille Harrison has proven he belongs in the NBA during his time with the Bulls, contends Michael Walton of NBC Sports. Harrison’s defensive prowess is well known, but he has been improving as a scorer, pouring in a game-high 21 points last night. Chicago faces a decision this summer as Harrison’s $1,588,231 salary for next season will become guaranteed on August 15.