Robin Lopez's Days in a Phoenix Suns Uniform Are Numbered

Kevin BonnevilleContributor IIIJanuary 25, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 10: Robin Lopez #15 of the Phoenix Suns waits to rebound on a foul shot against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Just two years ago, the Phoenix Suns thought they had a franchise center in Robin Lopez. Now they have a guy who is barely averaging 14 minutes a game and doesn't do much when he is actually out on the floor.

With the deadline here to pick up Lopez's $2.8 million option for next season and with his bumping of an official during last night's game against the Toronto Raptors, there is some talk that the Suns could be looking to move Lopez.

In his first game out this season, Lopez looked like he returned to his old form of two years ago. In the Dec. 26 matchup against the New Orleans Hornets, the former Stanford product scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Lopez has come nowhere close to those numbers since this season's opener. The big man's best point total came in garbage time against the Chicago Bulls last week where he put 16 points on the scoreboard.

He had a season high 12 boards in the Jan. 4 game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but his rebounding totals have been dismal since.

His season hit a whole new low last night against the Raptors. Early on in the second quarter, Lopez was ejected from the game after it looked like he intentionally bumped into an official. Lopez has always had issues with his temper and it reared its ugly head on Tuesday night.

With having such a poor season, Phoenix wouldn't get a lot for Lopez if they do indeed decide to trade him. The best the Suns could do is probably an early second-round pick. If there is an offer out there like that, they need to jump on it and fast, especially with how deep and talented this draft is. You can get a rotation player in the early portion of the second round of this year's draft.

Despite not playing well and having confidence and temper issues, there will still be some teams interested in adding Lopez to their roster either through a trade or through free agency during the summer.

Lopez is struggling right now, but some organization might think they can turn his career around with a change of scenery.

Lopez is also only 23 years old and is only two years removed from playing at an extremely high level. Before he got hurt at the end of the 2009-10 season, some were talking about Lopez being one of the best centers in the Western Conference.

If the Suns do decide to move Lopez this season, their rotation would be fine. They could insert Channing Frye behind Marcin Gortat and give Hakim Warrick more playing time off the bench at the power forward spot. Last night's game was an example of what the Suns rotation would look like without Lopez as Warrick had 17 points.

In his fourth season in the league, Lopez has had some nice moments while in a Suns uniform, but his bad times have clearly outweighed his good ones. Now it's time to move him, which would not only help the Suns organization but Lopez's career as well.