NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
Robin Lopez could find himself competing for a championship this season. The Golden State Warriors are interested in acquiring the Chicago Bulls center, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
In the wake of Damian Jones’ pectoral tear—a potentially season-ending injury—the Warriors are in need of a big man. Jones will undergo surgery to repair the torn left pectoral muscle he suffered in Saturday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons. He started at center in 22 of the 24 games he played in this season, averaging 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 17 minutes per contest.
Lopez’s minutes have been scaled back this season with the Bulls rebuilding and focusing on playing the team’s younger guys. The 7-foot Lopez, 30, could use a change of scenery. He is a free agent at season’s end, making him an appealing trade option. The Bulls could simply just buy out Lopez's contract, freeing him to sign with the team of his choice.
While Lopez has not seen significant playing action, he was praised earlier in the season for his “professionalism” and was called a “great mentor and great example” to the Bulls' young players by Fred Hoiberg, the now former Bulls coach who was fired on Monday.
Lopez could beef up the Warriors’ front-line, which is still awaiting the debut of four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, who signed with Golden State in the offseason.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that Cousins is “making strides” and is practicing fully with the team. Previous reports have suggested that Cousins could return in late-December or January. Given that he is practicing regularly, that seems like an accurate timeline.
The Warriors recalled Marcus Derrickson from the G-League to add help in the frontcourt, but he is more of a power forward/4. With Draymond Green currently injured, Kevin Looney has been thrust into the starting center role for the Warriors with Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko getting minutes at the 5 off the bench. But Green, Looney, Bell and Jerebko aren't true 5's and are all better suited at the 4.
Lopez would provide the Warriors with a legitimate center. He could be useful in the interim and see decent minutes—at least until Cousins regains his health.