Golden State Warriors Rumors: Robin Lopez a potential buyout target?

Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images
Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images /

Rumor has it Robin Lopez has become a potential buyout target for the Golden State Warriors as they look to add center depth ahead of their run at a three-peat.

Despite their standing as one of the NBA’s top contenders in 2018-19, the Golden State Warriors aren’t immune to the rumor mill. As recent rumors would suggest, they actually have their sights set on a certain Chicago Bulls center as we work our way through the final week of 2018.

According to the New York Times’ Marc Stein, there’s one name Warriors fans need to keep in mind as we inch our way closer to Feb. 7’s trade deadline:

"One name to file away here: Chicago’s Robin Lopez. The Bulls have made Lopez available via trade along with the former No. 2 overall draft pick Jabari Parker, according to league sources, but moving the experienced center isn’t so simple given his $14.4 million salary."

Now the obvious caveat here is that Lopez would actually need to get the ax (via buyout) from the Chicago Bulls. They’re clearly nowhere near contention, with their record currently sitting at 9-25. Even in the Eastern Conference, that’s not going to get them anywhere near the postseason. Assuming that’s still the case come February, Lopez may become all the more expendable.

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If Lopez is bought out, you’d have to imagine Golden State being a tempting option for the 30-year-old center. Not only would signing with the Warriors return him to his home state of California, but it would provide him with the very real possibility of winning a ring.

At the same time, who knows where the Warriors will be at by then. With DeMarcus Cousins potentially returning in the near future, the need may subside. And yet, with no true 5s on the roster outside of Cousins (Damian Jones is done for the year with a torn pectoral), adding Lopez would still make a certain amount of sense.

It’s been a slog of a season for Lopez, who is averaging only 6.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and one block per game as a rotational big man. His 17.3 minutes per game are the worst he’s seen since the 2011-12 season, but his 55.8 field-goal percentage is nearly the best of his career. With the Bulls emphasizing minutes for their youth, though, Lopez has become an afterthought.

If signed by the Warriors, Lopez would likely see increased minutes considering their lack of options at center. Even if Cousins returns to the lineup, they’ll want to keep him on a pitch count, which would theoretically be a big plus for the Bulls’ underappreciated big.

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It’s still too early to tell whether a Lopez-Warriors relationship will kindle. There’s a chance he’s traded ahead of the 2019 deadline, and Golden State never gets a shot to sign him. If the opportunity arises, though, expect Bob Myers to have his agent on the phone in short order.