Wizards Going All In With Gortat-For-Okafor Five-Player Trade

Phoenix Suns v Golden State Warriors

In Marcin Gortat, the Wizards have the big man they need to fill out their supporting cast.

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – No excuses in Washington this year.

That’s what Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis has been preaching for months. Injuries will not be used an excuse for the Wizards not chasing a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

So, out goes injured center Emeka Okafor, who is out indefinitely after neck surgery, and in comes Marcin Gortat from Phoenix. It’s a deal that bolsters the Wizards’ frontcourt rotation and allows them to continue on with their plans to ride John Wall, Bradley Beal and a talented young core group into playoff contention this season.

It’s the sort of aggressive, risky move you would expect from a team with playoff aspirations that they want to realize now rather than later. Leonsis planted the seed after last season, when injuries to Wall and others prevented the Wizards from taking off the way they expected.

When Wall signed his five-year, $80 million extension in August, it became a playoffs-or-else proposition in Washington. The injury to Okafor, as well Chris Singleton and rookie swingman Otto Porter Jr., took some of the steam out of the hype train. But the arrival of Gortat, a 7-footer who averaged 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds last season in Phoenix, pumps some adrenaline back into things in Washington.

The deal, first reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, will also include the Wizards getting veteran guards Shannon Brown, Malcom Lee and Kendall Marshall, who was at one time expected to be the heir apparent to Steve Nash, for Okafor’s expiring contract and a protected first-round pick in the 2014 Draft.

The Wizards are not expected to keep Brown, Lee or Marshall on their already stocked roster, waiving all three to get to the league-maximum 15-man group in time for the start of the regular season next week.

The Suns acquisition of both Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe in consecutive summers, however, pushed Marshall into the margins in a rebuilding process in Phoenix that has yet to find a true foundation.

With a new direction and a new boss, general manager Ryan McDonough, the Suns are essentially waiving the white flag in the Western Conference playoff hunt and plotting a course with assets, cap space and a robust crop of talent in the 2014 Draft pool. Contract extension talks with Bledsoe are reportedly ongoing, but he appears to be the only established player safe from the trade chatter. (There have been rumors for months about Dragic being dangled as trade bait for the right asset).

It’s an interesting move by both parties, one that signals a definite shift in strategy by a Wizards team focused on the here and now and similarly deliberate move by a Suns team planning for the long-term future.

Randy Wittman and the Wizards have the big man they need to fill out that supporting cast around Wall and Beal. And Gortat gets his chance to prove he’s not just a great backup (to Dwight Howard in Orlando) or a guy who can put up solid numbers on a struggling team.

The best part, though, is the Wizards are not just talking about doing whatever it takes to become a part of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, they are making the moves necessary to make sure those words have a chance to become a reality.

It’s like the owner said, no excuses.

29 Comments

  1. hahaha says:

    Gortat should go to MIami for Joel Anthony…

  2. Akeem Asante says:

    same top 5 in the east from last season

    6. Detroit (this top 6 is a virtually a wrap, unless major trades / injuries go down) 7. Washington 8. Cleveland (a healthy Bynum ?…7) / Atlanta / Boston

  3. Wizards Fan says:

    1.Heat
    2.Bulls
    3.Pacers
    4.Nets
    5.Knicks
    6. Cavaliers
    7.Wizards
    8.Pistons or Raptors

  4. jimmy says:

    No doubt the wizards will make the playoffs if healthy but they have no chance making it to the 2nd round against teams like the bulls, heat, pacers, nets, or knicks.

  5. Toooo much space says:

    This is just tooooooo goooood

  6. J.W says:

    I like the Wizards this season. They may not make the playoff but they will give it a good run for there money.

  7. Patrick says:

    Wizards still looking at a 6-7 seed

  8. Bird33 says:

    Good on the Wizards – they are chasing a playoff spot and made a real move to make it happen – well done Wizards Mgmt – nice to see a team not playing the tanking game and trying to give the fans their money’s worth when they buy a ticket to a game. To Wizards Mgmt – you’ve earned an “Atta boy!”

  9. MagicFan says:

    I love this trade. Gortat reportedly was not happy in Phoenix and he should be a great help to the Wizards. Happy to see him come back to the eastern conference so that Magic fans get to see him 4 times a year.

  10. asdf says:

    I find it somewhat strange that Wizards (and Cavs) want to move from lotto to PO with such a stacked draft coming after the season.

  11. marcin says:

    I hoped Gortat would end up in New Orleans, cause this is a team on the big rise and high expectations. Besidesit has the biggest hole in the middle considering Antony Davis PF who he is.

  12. Henrik Jensen says:

    what are you talking about unkle daddy?, thunder have Westbrook, Durant and Ibaka signed for long time, they will bring home a championship sooner or later

  13. Lakers lifer says:

    Come home Shannon Brown! LAkers will welcome you back!

  14. J says:

    post my comment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Mike says:

    I hope Gortat and Wall will have a great chemistry and rock the NBA!

  16. underdog says:

    I do think with this trade though the Wizards is a lock for the 5-8 seed… Pistons out then

    • Patrick says:

      Heats
      Bulls
      Nets
      Pacers
      Pistons
      Cavs
      Wizards
      Raptors

      • Shawn K says:

        I’d say the Pacers are either 2 or 3 seed with the potential to be top seed(however unlikely everyone may think). Just my opinion but I think the Eastern Conference top 8 will be;

        1) Miami Heat
        2) Indiana Pacers
        3) Chicago Bulls
        4) Brooklyn Nets
        5) New York Knicks
        6) Cleveland Cavaliers
        7) Detroit Pistons
        8) Toronto Raptors

        I also think the Wizards have a really good chance of making the playoffs this year.

  17. Unkle Daddy says:

    I say Dragic in a trade and Brown get picked up after he’s waived, both to OKC they need some help and fast.

    • I love this move for the Wizards. Their front line needed help in a big-man heavy Eastern Conference. Gortat will be great with Nene. I can see Bradley Beal having a big year for the Wizards.

      I would still like to see the Pacers make a deal for Channing Frye and Goran Dragic, for maybe Danny Granger and George Hill. Both are deserving to play on a playoff team and would fill big holes on the Indiana Pacers and Phoenix can tank that much more with even greater cap space going into next season.

      • Toocrunk says:

        Channing Frye and Goran Dragic for Granger and Hill? LOL, I wouldn’t trade Hill for BOTH of those guys…much less Granger.

  18. Scisca says:

    It’s always an improvement for Gortat, but I was hoping he’d move to a contender that needs help in the middle (mainly OKC). I hope he gets a chance to compete in the next couple years.

    • underdog says:

      Suns do not want to absorb Perkins’ contract and ineffectivity on-court and OKC is a cheap team.. they are not willing to open their wallets to afford Gortat and Brown..

      I do think with this trade though the Wizards is a lock for the 5-8 seed.. goodbye Pistons

      • Toocrunk says:

        I agree with everything you said, but your Pistons comment. Do you really think The Pistons: Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, W. Bynum. C.Billups, Gi Gi Datome(MVP of Italian league), KCP, Singler, Jerbeko, and company aren’t going to the playoffs? LOL ….The teams in the East that can even handle The Pistons are very few. I only see The Heat, The Bulls, The Nets, and The Pacers giving The Pistons a problem. The Wizards don’t have a chance in hell when it comes to topping The Pistons for a playoff position…..even with all the players they just acquired. Gortat can’t handle Drummond nor Monroe and Shannon Brown (8 PPG for his career) is mediocre at best… I don’t even see The Wizards going to playoffs this year even with the trade that just did. The Knicks and The Raptors have a better chance than the Wiz. The Wiz will be lucky to even get a 7 or 8 seed due to teams like Boston, Atlanta and The Cavs. The Wiz nor The Suns went to the playoffs last year. Neither will go this year either.

      • the wizards did have a bigger chance in trading gortat and probably is already a playoff team for the east…but the pistons will definitely be there as well

    • Jordan says:

      Umm wizards are contenders now lol what do you mean lmaooo