Joe Freeman of The Oregonian introduces new Portland Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez, who has a wide variety of off-court interests.
He's an artist at heart who has a strong love for comic books, Walt Disney characters, animation and drawing. But he also has the intellect and academic prowess to qualify for Stanford. There's a Portland-perfect blend of irony, humor, confidence and smarts to his makeup.
"I think as far as NBA players go," Lopez said, smiling, "I'm a little atypical."
"Robin is coming off the best year of his career, he's only 25 and his best days are ahead of him," Olshey said. "We have enough firepower in the starting lineup -- almost too much firepower -- and we needed somebody who understands his role, who protects the paint, who protects the rim, who grabs defensive rebounds and who can score with opportunity."
There's also this: Though Lopez appears calm and composed and charismatic off the court, he has a reputation for being menacing on it. At Stanford his nickname was "Beast," and college workouts between him and his twin brother, Brook, were known for being physical and competitive. Once in Phoenix, after his team lost a game of three-on-three in practice, Lopez grew so enraged he slammed a nearby exit door, shattering the glass panes.
The Blazers introduced Lopez to the media on Thursday.
Blazers GM Neil Olshey added this about Lopez in an interview with Blazersedge.
Robin is going to be great. I think LaMarcus [Aldridge] is really happy about it. I know Nicolas [Batum] is, so is Wesley [Matthews], so is [Damian Lillard]. Just to have somebody that is a back line defender, who can watch their back, can lay wood on people, can be a presence, can be a deterrent at the rim. It gives Terry [Stotts] the ability to change the schemes defensively to the way he really wanted to play a year ago.
The Blazers acquired Lopez from the New Orleans Pelicans in a three-team trade that sent Tyreke Evans from the Sacramento Kings to the Pelicans. Trade details: Portland sent the New York Knicks' 2016 second-round pick, protected to 37, and the right to swap 2018 second-round picks to Sacramento. Portland also sent the rights to Jeff Withey and $1.6 million to pay Lopez's trade kicker to New Orleans.
Lopez, 25, is the twin brother of Brooklyn Nets All-Star center Brook Lopez. He averaged 11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks for the Pelicans last season. He spent the first four years of his career with the Phoenix Suns and holds career averages of 7.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.
Lopez is on the books for $5.1 million in 2013-14 and $5.3 million in 2014-15.
Apologies on the delay on Saturday's posts. I'm playing a little bit of catch-up down here in Las Vegas.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter