The NBA’s trade deadline may be a bit of a bust this year (or, more accurately, again) but the buyout market is expected to be robust. Zach Randolph, Kenneth Faried, J.R. Smith (unless he is traded) are just a few of the names.
But the biggest and best may be Robin Lopez of the Bulls.
And the Warriors are eyeing him as someone to platoon with DeMarcus Cousins, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times in his weekly newsletter.
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.
There will be little need for the Bulls to keep Lopez, 30, beyond Feb. 7 if they don’t find a workable trade for him, which may set up the former Knick to emerge as one of most coveted buyout candidates. Golden State’s positional needs also could certainly change between now and then, but Kevon Looney is the closest thing to a proven center currently available to Coach Steve Kerr.
DeMarcus Cousins likely will hit the court before that point — the buzz around the league is a January return, he did scrimmage on Wednesday, but there is no timetable yet — and the Warriors will have an idea of how that is going to work out. Even if Cousins is playing well, if the Warriors can get a solid defensive-minded rotational big in Lopez to add to the mix, it would help.
It’s not even close to a done deal, but it’s something to watch. Lopez likely will get bought out and once he does there will be more than one interested team, but if the Warriors come calling that will be tempting.