Robin Lopez

Southeast Notes: Smith, Lopez, Carter, Bamba

Point guard Ish Smith will be playing for his 12th NBA franchise this season but his stint with the Hornets will be special, Sam Perley of the team’s website notes. Smith grew up in Charlotte, NC.

“I wanted to be home, I’m not going to lie to you,” Smith said. “I’m sure everybody is going mention it in every game we play. Every year, it’s about how many teams you’ve been on. I’m like look, somebody likes me. … [Being here] is something that I’m excited about, it’s something my family’s excited about. So, yeah, it is something I wanted to do.”

Smith signed a two-year deal with the Hornets last month.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Robin Lopez, signed to add depth in the middle for the rebuilding Magic, compares himself to a bullpen specialist in baseball, Josh Cohen of the team’s website writes. “You know the relief pitcher, they’re always a little rotund,” Lopez said with a grin. “They’re not playing every night necessarily, but they are going in there making an impact when the team needs them.” Lopez signed a one-year, $5MM deal with Orlando.
  • The Magic will be evaluating their long-term plans at center over the next 12 months, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic. The franchise is unlikely to make long-term commitments to both Wendell Carter Jr. and Mohamed Bamba. They are eligible for rookie scale extensions this offseason. If Carter isn’t signed to an extension, he will still have every opportunity to prove himself in the season ahead and perhaps show that his ceiling is higher than many scouts believe he can reach, Robbins adds.
  • ICYMI, a former Nets guard has agreed to a contract with the Hawks. Get the details here.

Magic Sign Robin Lopez To One-Year Contract

AUGUST 6: The Magic have officially signed Lopez, according to an announcement from the team.


AUGUST 3: The Magic are signing veteran free agent center Robin Lopez to a one-year, $5MM deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links). The 33-year-old is coming off a stint with the Wizards.

Lopez provides Orlando with a locker room presence, joining the likes of Wendell Carter Jr. (22 years old) and Mohamed Bamba (23 years old) at the center position. He was drafted No. 15 overall in 2008 after playing two collegiate seasons at Stanford.

In 71 games with Washington last season, Lopez averaged nine points, 3.8 rebounds and 19.1 minutes per contest. He’s also made stops with Phoenix, New Orleans, Portland, New York, Chicago and Milwaukee throughout his 15-year NBA career.

The Magic also signed lottery picks Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner to their rookie contracts on Tuesday. As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Orlando will use part if its $9.5MM midlevel exception to sign Lopez and still owns a $17.2MM trade exception.

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.