The Washington Wizards are one of the Eastern Conference's most popular up-and-coming squads, mostly due to the play of budding stars John Wall and Bradley Beal.
However, those two aren't going to be able to carry the Wizards to the playoffs all by themselves and will need the help of their supporting cast in a big way.
That group was shaken up on Friday afternoon, when ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Wiz agreed to trade injured center Emeka Okafor and a top-12 protected first-round pick in 2014 to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Marcin Gortat, Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown and Malcolm Lee.
While the trade looks good for the Wizards on the surface, I'm not so sure it was the right move long-term. It comes across as a trade incited by panic after the Wizards struggled in the preseason due to the absence of Okafor's defensive presence in the middle, but Gortat isn't exactly an otherworldly talent.
He's a decent placeholder on an expiring contract, but the Wizards were clearly motivated to make the deal with the playoffs in mind for this year and this year only.
And if they do make the playoffs, the Wizards are sacrificing a first-round pick in the most talented draft class since 2003, one that will be replete with talent beyond the lottery.
Short-term, sure, it's a sensible move that eases the burden on their frontcourt, but in the long run, the Wizards didn't do much to improve their standing in the Eastern Conference.