The New Orleans Hornets have blown up their roster like the Grand Palace Hotel. One day after singing first-round draft picks Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers, the Hornets addressed their deficiency at center. In a three-team trade, New Orleans sent Jerome Dyson and Brad Miller to the Minnesota Timberwolves and acquired Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick from the Phoenix Suns. The Timberwolves sent Wesley Johnson and a first-round pick to the Suns.
Before I get into what Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick bring to New Orleans, I'd be remiss if I didn't wish Jerome Dyson well with the Timberwolves. Dyson was my favorite D-League call up from the 2011-12 Hornets season. A fearless point guard, Dyson was outstanding on dribble penetration and played terrific defense for New Orleans.
What the departure of Dyson tells me is that Brian Roberts may be the Hornets' fifth guard this year. Roberts played better than Xavier Henry and Jerome Dyson in New Orleans' Summer League. Unlike Dyson and Henry, Roberts can both run the Hornets' offense at point guard and shoot well enough to play shooting guard.
I had heard rumors of New Orleans trading for Robin Lopez for several days. With no pure center and little talent available in free agency, I knew the Hornets would have to execute a trade to get help under the basket. Lopez is the twin brother of Brooklyn Nets C Brook Lopez but hasn't put up numbers like his brother so far in the NBA.
However, Robin Lopez figures to start in New Orleans and get more playing time than he has ever received in the NBA. In four seasons with the Suns, Lopez never averaged more than 20 minutes per game. With the Hornets, Robin Lopez should eclipse his previous NBA highs of 8.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
Although not a pure center, I expect Jason Smith to play a lot at that position. Of course, Anthony Davis can also play center and could move to that position if Robin Lopez gets in foul trouble or gets injured. Robin Lopez is only 24 years old, so even though he's a veteran, he has room to grow on the young Hornets squad in New Orleans.
I'm not sure where Hakim Warrick fits into the Hornets' plans. Warrick is a forward and New Orleans is loaded at that position. However, Warrick is 30 years old and could really help the young Hornets in the locker room. The trade for Warrick doesn't help Darius Miller's chances of making the Hornets roster after a tough Summer League for New Orleans.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Hornets. Patrick was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
Brett Martel, "AP Source: Lopez joins Hornets in 3-team trade," yahoo.com
"Robin Lopez," basketball-reference.com
"Hakim Warrick," basketball-reference.com
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