With the start of the NBA regular season just around the corner, the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards are reportedly swapping centers in a deal that also involves several other players and a draft pick.
UPDATE: Monday, Oct. 28, at 8:18 p.m. ET
The Wizards have waived everybody not named Gortat in the trade according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
#wizards have waived Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee & Kendall Marshall, the other 3 players acquired from PHX in Marcin Gortat deal.— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) October 28, 2013
---End of update---
UPDATE: Friday, Oct. 25, at 7:12 p.m. ET
From ESPN's Jeff Goodman:
Kendall Marshall will be waived by the Wizards following trade from Suns, source told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) October 25, 2013
---End of update---
ESPN's Marc Stein initially had the details:
Hearing: Suns are trading Marcin Gortat to the Wizards. Okafor on his way to Phoenix. More details to come— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) October 25, 2013
The Wizards confirmed the move in a statement:
Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired center Marcin Gortat along with guards Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and Kendall Marshall in exchange for center Emeka Okafor and a 2014 protected first round draft pick.
“We have solidified our frontcourt by adding a player who has established himself as a very consistent and productive inside presence over the last three seasons,” said Grunfeld. “Marcin’s ability to rebound, defend and score will allow us to continue where we left off last season and pushes us further toward our goal of becoming a playoff team.”
The Washington Post reporter Michael Lee notes more details:
Hearing Marcin Gortat is main piece for #wizards. Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown & Malcolm Lee not expected to stick around in DC— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) October 25, 2013
Gortat spoke out about the trade on Twitter:
I wanna say i dont have any hard feelings towards Suns front office people.Ryan is an amazing GM.He put them back on the right track.— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) October 25, 2013
I knew its gonna happen so Im glad it happened now not in mid season.! Its still hard to leave such a great city.— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) October 25, 2013
The motivation of each team is clear.
Washington is intent on contending this season. With John Wall and Bradley Beal healthy and expected to take the next step in the echelon of top NBA backcourts, the Wizards' 2013-14 forecast was already encouraging.
Who is getting the better end of this deal?
Now add Gortat, who has averaged 13.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over the last two seasons, in place of Okafor, who is out indefinitely with a neck injury, and the frontcourt also takes a step forward.
The 6'11", 240-pound center struggled last year with a foot injury and sporadic playing time but has looked healthy this preseason and should fit in nicely next to Nene, Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker.
On the other side of things, Phoenix is preparing for the future.
Okafor is on the last year of his contract, and with his status in doubt, the Suns—already in rebuilding mode—appear ready to turn to rookie Alex Len, the No. 5 pick in this year's draft.
In addition to the cap space Okafor will eventually clear, an extra first-round pick, though top-12 protected, per Goodman, gives them another potential franchise building block—they could have four first-rounders in a stacked 2014 draft.