The Phoenix Suns proved on Friday they have no interest in fielding a competitive team this coming season and are more interested in collecting picks for next year’s NBA draft when there will be quite a few possible franchise players available.
Marcin Gortat was traded to the Washington Wizards, along with Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall, and Malcolm Lee, for center Emeka Okafor and a 2014 first-round draft pick.
“I wanna say I don’t have any hard feelings towards Suns front office people,” Gortat tweeted on Friday. “Ryan [McDonough] is an amazing GM. He put them back on the right track.”
With the team drafting Alex Len and also having veteran big man Channing Frye on the roster, trading Gortat wasn’t totally unexpected. But the return was less than expected. In 2011-12, Gortat averaged 15.4 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. Last year, Gortat played in just 61 games due to a foot injury and his numbers declined (11.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks).
Gortat will give the Wizards a solid replacement for Okafor at the center position. Nene will be able to stay at his power forward position and the trade gives Washington an excellent chance to make the playoffs.
Okafor injured his neck and is not expected to start the season on opening day. He has averaged 12.3 points per game, 9.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. With his history of injuries and nine seasons in the league, he’s no longer a starter, but he’s a capable backup. When he’s healthy, Okafor is unlikely to stay long in the Valley of the Sun with an expiring contract and playoff teams interested always interested in adding depth to their rotations.
Brown averaged 10.7 points in two years in Phoenix. He’ll give Washington a scorer and defender off the bench. Marshall was a disappointment after being the 13th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. Brown, Marshall and Lee could all be released to clear cap space.
Darren Jacks is a regular contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Follow him on Twitter @djroxalot.