With the thermometer pegged around 100 degrees Phoenix is definitely heating-up, but when it comes to the Suns, the talk of trades has become ice cold. Yes, I know, we do have what could be called in polite company a check book problem with an owner who doesn't want to part with the bucks and that issue will probably dog the Suns for years to come - but we also have a lot of needs. Or should I say a really BIG need.
Indeed - with the exception of one stellar game - watching Robin Lopez during the Summer League was like watching a man adrift. He was in the mix when it came to shots being blocked with only one problem - the shots were his and Lopez wasn't doing the blocking. He also wasn't doing much scoring or a very good job defending. This is unfortunate because the big man has the height to make a difference and showed some flashes of quality play last season with an average of 3.2 points and 2 rebounds for each of the 60 games he played in.
So while Lopez may have untapped potential - it can't be counted on. And while Channing Frye may be an intriguing option at center, he doesn't have an extended history of playing in the #5 spot. His career averages of 8.2 ppg and 20 minutes per game are promising but the Suns would benefit also from a center who has consistently played in that key position during his pro career.
One who comes to mind is Rasho Nesterovic a recent acquisition of the Toronto Raptors with 11 years as an NBA pro. His career averages of 7 ppg and 5.3 rebounds aren't going to make him Hall-of-Fame bound but a 50.1% field goal percentage shows some substance as a scoring threat. And in his one appearance against the Suns last season, he spent 17 minutes hitting 5 for 7 from the field and grabbing five defensive rebounds. Remember all those concerns last year about defense?
The Suns could acquire Nesterovic - assuming the Raptors are open to it - for virtually no additional cost as part of simple body-for-body trade in which they get Robin Lopez and we get their veteran big man. The contract numbers show Lopez at $1.75 million and Nesterovic is reportedly at $2 million.
Of course the Raptors have to be committed to a longterm plan with plenty of patience for Robin Lopez to be in their sights or else this goes nowhere. As for the Suns, let's face it, we already have more than enough young blood on tap for 2009-10 and beyond.