25 July 2012
The proposed three-team deal between the Suns, Timberwolves and Hornets appears to be officially done, according to the Associated Press. The multiplayer trade, which was first reported yesterday, has several pieces involved.
Center Robin Lopez, forward Hakim Warrick and cash will be headed to New Orleans. In return, the Suns will receive guard/forward Wes Johnson from Minnesota and a first round pick from the T'Wolves that will more than likely be lottery protected. The Timberwolves will get the contract of Brad Miller, who is set to retire, guard Jerome Dyson and two second round picks from New Orleans.
When so many players are involved in a deal, things are usually complicated, but this trade seems pretty straight forward for all parties involved. The Bees get their starting center in Lopez to put alongside their young star in Anthony Davis and a veteran presence in Warrick. The T'Wolves get much neeeded payroll flexibility and they aren't wasting any time as they are reportedly on the verge of signing Andrei Kirilenko on a two-year, $20 million deal.
For the Suns, this move was done for a number of reasons.
First off, they get a talented former fourth overall pick in Johnson. Coming of Syracuse, Johnson had a very solid rookie season in Minnesota, but his playing time declined last year due to the Timberwolves having a lot of options at the shooting guard and small forward positions. One of his biggest weaknesses has been his ability to shoot the ball effectively, so don't be surprised if Dan Majerle doesn't help him with that part of his game heading into the season.
Phoenix also gets payroll flexibility and an extra pick in this deal. They won't have to pay the remaining $9.5 million on Warrick's contract and won't have to overpay Lopez to keep him in a Suns uniform. With the extra pick, the Suns could have three first round picks during the 2013 draft depending on whether the Minnesota pick is lottery protected, which more than likely will be the case. Either way, the Suns will get a first round pick out of this deal.
Both Lopez and Warrick were more than expendable. Marcin Gortat will take up most of the minutes as the team's starter at center and Lopez's minutes off the bench can replaced by Channing Frye, who played the five spot during the Suns run to the Western Conference Finals a few years back. Warrick was buried deep on the depth chart behind Luis Scola and Markieff Morris.
In my view, this is a home run trade for the Suns. Even if Johnson ends up having a bad season in Phoenix, there is a very low risk involved with acquiring him. He is signed through next season and has a team option for the following one with the money being reasonable. I think his upside is well worth taking a one-year flier on him.
Come next season, Johnson will be the backup to Michael Beasley at small forward. He will also be able to slide to the two guard if Alvin Gentry decides to go with a bigger lineup.
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