Lopez, Warrick beef up NOLA frontcourt

Friday, July 27, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

In a trade that had been rumored for the past several days, the New Orleans Hornets officially announced Friday afternoon that they had acquired center Robin Lopez and forward Hakim Warrick, both most recently members of the Phoenix Suns. New Orleans general manager Dell Demps – who’d maintained since draft night that he would try to land a center via free agency or a trade – not only obtained Lopez, but also added frontcourt depth with the pickup of Warrick.

The 7-foot Lopez started 94 games at center over the first three seasons of his NBA career with Phoenix, including 56 times out of 67 total appearances during the 2010-11 campaign. After the Suns acquired center Marcin Gortat midway through that season, Gortat eventually took over starting duties. As a result, Lopez came off the bench in all of his 64 games during the abbreviated 2011-12 season, his fourth pro year.

After selecting Anthony Davis, a projected power forward, in the draft, Demps said he would fill the “5” position this summer by other means.

The 6-foot-9 Warrick has played seven seasons in the NBA, with Memphis, Chicago and Phoenix. His arrival in New Orleans will mark a return to the site of the most memorable moment of his basketball career. In 2003, as a key member of the Syracuse men’s basketball team, he helped lead the Orange to a national title game victory over Kansas in the Superdome. Warrick’s blocked shot of Kansas guard Michael Lee in the final few seconds helped preserve an 81-78 win.

While Warrick is primarily known as a power forward, he’s also slid over to small forward at times in the NBA, giving the Hornets another option in their frontcourt. Warrick, who turned 30 on July 7, is the oldest New Orleans player currently under contract for next season.