Let me start by making two things very clear: First, this is a totally speculative discussion between two buddies shooting the breeze via email that we decided to open up to the greater communities of Suns and Celtics fans. Two: I don't advocate trading Robin Lopez.
As we've seen recently, and on occasions before, Lopez brings a unique combination of size, mobilty and physicality and while his playing time has been reduced by the emergence of Marcin Gortat, he's still a valuable player. The Magic were smart to keep Gortat when he was an RFA even though he was buried on the bench behind Dwight Howard. The Suns should do the same in my opinion.
However, I don't know how the Phoenix Suns front office views Lopez and with his restricted free agency coming up this summer, they may be inclined to move him now before the March 15 NBA Trade Deadline if they feel like they won't want to match offers this summer.
They should get something for him now instead of losing him for nothing later....IF they have evaluated the market and feel like Lopez will garner an offer sheet from another team this July that they won't match. Obviously, they don't know exactly what the market for Lopez will be, but Lon Babby prides himself on being prepared so there's no question that his staff has looked at this question with great detail.
IF they decide to move Lopez now, here's an idea that might make sense: Avery Bradley, the second year guard who was drafted 19th overall in 2010 by the Celtics. (Here's his basketbal-reference.com and Draft Express pages so you can look up his numbers.)
I threw this idea out to Jeff Clark from Celtics Blog to see what he thought. Here's our discussion:
Seth Pollack: Jeff, my man from the Green Land. When I say Robin Lopez for Avery Bradley trade, what's your reaction?
I read where you need a center (or two) and Lord knows the Suns could use some young options to develop at the point guard position. But I really don't know much about Bradley other than he's more of a defender than scorer and doesn't seem to have much range either. Is he basically a young Rondo? What's up with this kid?
Robin will be an RFA this summer. He's had an inconsistent career in Phoenix but I still think with consistent playing time and a coach and team that believes in him that he can be a very good NBA player. His size is legit and when engaged properly, will give you energy and toughness on defense and shows occasional flashes on offense that are enough to tease you into believing that he could be a regular 10 ppg guy. He doesn't have the natural touch that his brother Brook (has), but he's far more active and physical and he's surprisingly good on the pick and roll. More than anything, I think Robin needs a change of scenery and a chance to play.
Who says no?
Jeff Clark: Only one question before I answer - can he rebound?
Seth Pollack: Rebounding? Is that important?
Look, his individual rebounding numbers aren't impressive but I've watched this guy since his rookie year and here's the deal -- he hits people and blocks out BEFORE going after the ball. Several times over the years I've calculated the Suns rebounding +/- with Robin on and off the court and the team always rebounds better when he's playing. This passes the eye test as well since you almost always see him find a body when the ball is in the air and usually that body is the other team's best boarder.
He doesn't have great instincts for the ball but he works HARD and hits people and doesn't care about his stats. Don't you call that, "UMBUNTA" or something?
Oh, and he's also BIG and tips balls volleyball fashion that don't always show on his stats.
Tell me more on Bradley. What's his deal?
Jeff Clark: Here's the deal with Bradley. I certainly wouldn't call him a young Rondo unless you are only focusing on the negative aspects of Rondo's game. Bradley simply isn't a floor general point guard (few are). Early in the year Doc even went so far as to say he was better suited at the 2. He's a shooting point guard who's super power is on the ball defense. The better comparible is Tony Allen with a little less height and a lot less crazy.
Like your boy Robin, the stats aren't going to tell the whole story here. He has struggled with his jump shot, but he's got very good form and he's gaining confidence in it day by day now that he's getting consistent playing time. He's also getting points off of back cuts and fast breaks off of turnovers.
He is sometimes used as a one-man full court press, which puts pressure on the opposing point guards and forces teams into shorter shot clock situations to run their offense. He's going to be in the league a long time just because of that defense.
He's a capable backup point guard and I think he's a nice fit behind Rondo. With that said, we desperately need a center and based on your scouting report, he might be a guy we could use. The rebounding still scares me but we are talking a youngish center that could contribute both now and for years to come then I'd at least have to think long and hard about it.
Shall we put it to our readers and see what they say (yay or nay)?
Seth Pollack: Let's do it. Everyone knows the fans are way smarter than the people running these teams.
Jeff Clark: Pandering to the audience? I like it.
What do you think?