Wednesday’s Jan. 25 deadline for the Suns to offer a contract extension to center Robin Lopez will come and go without any action by the team, according to a report from Fox Sports Arizona:
“We reached out to (Lopez’s agent) Arn Tellem and let him know that we were willing to engage in discussions to see if there was any common ground that might make sense,” Babby said. “Their preference was to wait and see how things unfolded. We’re perfectly fine with that.
“We just wanted to make sure we made the appropriate overture. Everything was completely amicable.”
Babby had reached out to Lopez’s agent Arn Tellem to gauge what common ground might exist between the two sides, and prior to Tuesday’s home game Babby met with Lopez to assure him the deadline had not been ignored.
These comments from Babby confirm the original report on the matter from the Arizona Republic.
There’s no reason to lock up Lopez any earlier than necessary, and the Suns organization is handling this the right way — by being both up front and communicative with Lopez and his representation throughout the process. Phoenix will still retain the right to match any offers for Lopez this upcoming summer if they make a small qualifying offer to him in restricted free agency. And based on Lopez’s level of production and reduced role on the team thanks to the stellar play of Marcin Gortat, there’s no hurry to do so.
The team is also keeping in line with its recent strategy.
This past offseason, the Suns went bargain shopping to get talent on the cheap that would ideally provide production. But if those players didn’t fit, the ultimate cost would only be in the neighborhood of minimum salaries for just the current year. Shannon Brown, Ronnie Price, and Michael Redd all fall into this category.
No one knows for sure what the future holds for the Suns in terms of their most valuable personnel asset, Steve Nash. If Phoenix continues to drop home games against the league’s bottom-feeding clubs as it has in its last three contests (including Tuesday night to the Raptors), then the Suns and Nash may in fact finally reach that point where they agree it’s best for both parties to move on — Nash, to a contender, and the Suns, to a full-fledged rebuilding process.
It’s what everyone seems to want — except, of course, the parties who are involved.
With Nash, we’ll just have to wait; at the very least until the trade deadline this March, and quite possibly until the offseason this summer. But with Lopez, he’s now effectively in a contract year, and can prove his worth on the court with whatever minutes he is allowed. Either to his current team, or to potential suitors in the future.