Robin Lopez

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.

Central Notes: Porter, R. Lopez, Bucks, Evans

The Bulls traded for Otto Porter last month with the intention of making him a team leader, writes Michael Lee of The Athletic. VP John Paxson and GM Gar Forman made Porter’s role clear in their first meeting with him after the deal with Washington was complete.

“They said, ‘We want a bunch of high character guys to play for one another.’ It’s really rebuilding a culture here and they brought me here to be a part of that,” Porter said. “Of course, that just comes with experience. Coming from a situation where I can pass on things that I know, from experience, being with the Wizards, here. Because I’ve played in playoff games, played in playoff series and ultimately, that’s where we want to see ourselves — playing in the playoffs, being a top team in the East and making some noise.”

Porter has provided much more than leadership in the 15 games since arriving in Chicago. He has scored a career-best 17.5 PPG and is shooting a stunning .488 from 3-point range. He has already posted two 30-point games for the Bulls, which matches his career total in Washington.

“It’s a new opportunity for me to showcase my talent,” he said. “What I know I can do. And just go out there and have fun playing.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls opted to keep Robin Lopez, but it’s still uncertain if he’ll return next season, notes Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports. Chicago didn’t get any decent trade offers for Lopez prior to the deadline because teams were expecting a buyout. The Bulls would like to re-sign him in free agency, but Wendell Carter is their long-term center and Lopez may not want to settle for a back-up role. Chicago is paying Cristiano Felicio nearly $15.7MM over the next two seasons, and Lopez may demand more than that to return.
  • The Bucks get a little more breathing room under the luxury tax with Christian Wood being claimed off waivers by the Pelicans, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. With Wood’s $1,512,601 salary removed from its books, Milwaukee is now about $1.76MM away from tax territory, providing more cushion for late-season moves.
  • Tyreke Evans is hoping for a strong end to the season after having his best game since joining the Pacers, relays J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star. Evans, headed back to free agency after signing a one-year deal, credits the improvement to a meeting with coach Nate McMillan. “I need to be the aggressor,” Evans said. “I talked to him and I told him that’s the way I want to play. Put the ball in my hands and create. Put the pressure on the defense.”

Central Notes: LaVine, Lopez, Brogdon, Osman

Zach LaVine‘s offer to pay a fine for coach Jim Boylen shows the progress their relationship has made in three months, writes Malika Andrews of ESPN. The Bulls have given their approval for LaVine to cover the $7,000 penalty, which was incurred after Boylen was ejected for an argument with Clippers coach Doc Rivers during Friday’s game. However, NBA rules state that a fine must be paid by the person it was issued to, so LaVine’s offer may not be accepted.

Andrews recalls that LaVine was openly critical of Boylen’s coaching decisions when he replaced Fred Hoiberg in December, while Boylen publicly questioned LaVine’s commitment to defense. LaVine helped organize a meeting involving players, coaches and management after Boylen scheduled a practice the day after a 56-point loss. The tension has disappeared as Boylen has solidified his hold on the head coaching spot, and LaVine is now willing to stand up for him.

“What Jim did, I personally respect that a lot,” LaVine said. “He really cares about us and he’s going to fight for us. That shows his true character the way he feels about us.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bulls center Robin Lopez seemed like a prime candidate for a trade or a buyout, but he has stayed and become a veteran leader on a young team, writes Sam Smith of NBA.com. Lopez, who will be a free agent this summer, has been a reliable contributor, playing in 62 of Chicago’s 70 games. “He’s in great shape, takes great care of himself, eats well. His body looks the same as when he was 25,” Boylen said. “When you have a veteran guy who never wants to sit out or skip practice, there’s a lot of power in that.”
  • Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon is projected to miss six to eight weeks with a plantar fascia tear in his right foot, but the team is optimistic his recovery time will be closer to six weeks, according to Andrews and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. That would have him back in time for the second round of the playoffs.
  • Turkish native Cedi Osman is excited about the chance to face Team USA — and possibly Cavaliers teammate Kevin Love — in this year’s FIBA World Cup, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Turkey has been slotted in Group E along with the United States, the Czech Republic and Japan. “We are going to shoot our shot and, of course, it’s going to be tough, but we’re going to try to do our best,” Osman said. Love is considering the tournament, but hasn’t committed yet after missing most of the season because of foot surgery.

Central Notes: Bledsoe, Bucks, Porter, Lopez

The Bucks’ decision to give point guard Eric Bledsoe a four-year, $70MM extension was a sensible move by both parties, Bobby Marks of ESPN argues. It’s a worthwhile price to retain Bledsoe and keep the core group together and that should aid their recruiting pitch to All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo as he approaches free agency in 2021. Bledsoe has become a more efficient player in Milwaukee, particularly in coach Mike Budenholzer’s system. With that order of business out of the way, the Bucks front office can now concentrate on re-signing Khris Middleton and restricted free agent Malcolm Brogdon this summer, Marks adds.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Bucks had a much more sensible plan to build around Antetokounmpo than the Lakers did with LeBron James, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines. Milwaukee has a completely different scheme under Budenholzer, surrounding its star with shooters through savvy decisions in free agency and trades. That has opened up driving lanes for Antetokounmpo. Los Angeles’ front office brought in playmakers and ballhandlers around James, Woike notes, which is why the Lakers rank 28th in 3-point shooting.
  • The Bulls have a much brighter outlook than they did at this time last season, when they went into full tank mode, Matt John of Basketball Insiders notes. The addition of Otto Porter has allowed the Bulls to improve its spacing offensively. Improved health for second-year power forward Lauri Markkanen has also made a difference, as he’s enjoying the best stretch of his young career, John continues. Shooting guard Zach LaVine remains a defensive liability but in a recent eight-game stretch, Chicago was a plus-8.2 with him on the floor, Johns points out. The Bulls will still get a high lottery pick and should continue to be on the upswing, John concludes.
  • It’s not out of the question that Robin Lopez re-signs with the Bulls, according to Sam Smith of the team’s website. The veteran center is showing his value as an offensive factor due to Wendell Carter Jr.‘s injury. The front office was concerned that Lopez couldn’t be effective switching and getting out to the perimeter defensively, but recently few teams have beaten the Bulls at his position, Smith notes. Lopez will want to test the market but with the team’s frontcourt needs expanding, his return for next season will be under consideration, Smith adds.

Robin Lopez Confirms No Buyout Coming

The Bulls and veteran center Robin Lopez won’t agree to a buyout before Friday’s deadline, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes.

“It’s been so much fun playing with these guys,” Lopez said. “It’s something I want to be a part of the rest of the season.”

Players currently on NBA teams must be waived by the end of March 1 to be playoff-eligible, with Lopez opting to stay with the Bulls (17-45). Bulls coach Jim Boylen said a buyout between Lopez and team management was never discussed, though clubs such as the Warriors reportedly had interest in the two-way big man leading up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline.

“I said, ‘If I hear something, RoLo, I will be honest and direct with you on what I know if you’re in a deal or not,’” Boylen said, according to Johnson. “I would love to have him back (next year). But I want him to be happy in his role too. And (Wendell) Carter (Jr.) is going to play.”

Lopez, 30, has averaged 7.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 18.9 minutes in 54 games with Chicago this season, starting in 16 contests. He made past stops with the Suns, Hornets, Blazers and Knicks before joining the Bulls in 2016.

Chicago explored trading Lopez earlier this month, but opted to keep him and send away young forwards Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis in a deal with Washington instead.