A trade that netted the New Orleans Hornets center Robin Lopez and forward Hakim Warrick was made official Friday, a move that beefs up the front court.
The acquisition of Lopez is one that the Hornets hope gives them a true center after the team traded Emeka Okafor to Washington prior to this year’s draft.
The complicated three-team trade included Phoenix and Minnesota. In return for Lopez and Warrick, the Suns received guard Jerome Dyson, center Brad Miller from the Hornets and Wesley Johnson and a first-round pick from the Timberwolves.
Minnesota receives two second-round picks (2013 and 2016) from New Orleans.
Lopez (7-foot, 255) was the 15th pick by Phoenix in the 2008 draft. In 64 games this past season, he averaged 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds while playing only 14 minutes after Marcin Gortat emerged as the Suns’ starting center.
“We wanted to fill the center position and we feel like Robin fits in with our timeline –a young player that has experience in the league and will have an opportunity to come in and contribute and help us,” Hornets general manager Dell Demps said.
The question will be what the Hornets do with Warrick, however. They drafted Anthony Davis with the No. 1 pick this year and signed Ryan Anderson in free agency. Additionally, Jason Smith was the team’s most-improved player a season ago. All three play forward.
Anderson has played as a power forward throughout his career. It’s possible he could move to small forward with No. 1 pick Anthony Davis playing power forward and Lopez playing center.
But Demps said not to look at specific positions, instead looking at the skills instead.
“I think the way the NBA is right now you just have an opportunity to put guys on the court,” Demps said. “Their individual talents are more important than the name of their position.”