During the NBA’s moratorium period – the time allotted for teams to meet with free-agents and negotiate deals – there are a number of different roads an organization can take to woo a player to sign or resign with them. Among the recruiting techniques are midnight phone calls from NBA executives, produced videos on what their organization or city has to offer, and even a face-to-face visits on a player’s front porch. Sometimes, however, a team manages to think of something a little more outside the box.
The Phoenix Suns applied some of that creativity last week when meeting with one of their own restricted free-agents, Robin Lopez. The veteran center, who was drafted by the Suns in 2008, can listen to other suitors over the next nine days, but the Suns’ maintain the right to match any offer to retain him. That didn’t stop the team’s front office, however, from showing Lopez how much they appreciate him and want him back.
Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby, GM Lance Blanks and Head Coach Alvin Gentry traveled to Los Angeles on Sunday to meet with the 24-year-old in person, and present him with a special video and a unique gift that was right up his alley. By reaching out to local comic book artist Tony Parker, the Suns were able to have Lopez – a known comic book fan – immortalized as a Suns superhero for a framed piece of artwork. Likewise, the video (an excerpt of which is embedded above) consisted of highlights of the 7-footer, intertwined with video of the illustrator working on his Lopez piece and a message that, “Every hero needs a home.”
Only time will tell whether the gifts bestowed upon him by the Suns will influence Lopez’ decision. In the meanwhile, fans in the Valley will just have to keep their fingers crossed that the “Boy Wonder” is again suiting up for the Suns in 2012-13.