Robin Lopez is in a New York state of mind…
The 27-year-old half-Cuban American professional basketball player, a free-agent center, will sign with the New York Knicks as long as DeAndre Jordan, as expected, chooses the Los Angeles Clippers or Dallas Mavericks and not the Knicks, according to ESPN sources.
Lopez has picked the Knicks over the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal reportedly valued at $12 million a year.
If he ends up in New York, he’ll be the second free agent picked up by Phil Jackson and the Knicks in the 2015 offseason. Earlier Thursday, New York agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract with Arron Afflalo.
Lopez is known as a strong defender and rebounder, two areas in which the 17-win Knicks struggled last season. The 7-foot center averaged 8.7 rebounds per 36 minutes last season, including 4.2 on the offensive end.
New York now awaits Jordan’s decision with the insurance of a Lopez agreement in hand. The terms of Lopez’s agreement are not yet known.
Lopez played the past two seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers. He was selected 15th overall by the Phoenix Suns in 2008, playing his first four seasons there. The New Orleans Pelicans acquired him via sign-and-trade in 2012, with Lopez starting all 82 games that season. The Blazers acquired him in a three-team trade before the 2013-14 season.
He recorded 29 double-doubles and set a franchise record for offensive rebounds in his first season with the Blazers. He missed 23 games last season due to a broken hand suffered in December but still averaged 9.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, anchoring Portland’s interior defense.
A seven-year veteran, Lopez holds career averages of 8.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 465 games.