Gortat to the Wizards for Okafor? Welp, that's what they're saying. | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Gortat to the Wizards for Okafor? Welp, that’s what they’re saying.

Updated: October 25, 2013

[original image via the internets]

[original image via the internets]

It’s been written just about everywhere: the Wizards, in consideration of Emeka Okafor’s indeterminate injury, are primed for a panic move. Randy Wittman and Ernie Grunfeld are in the last year of their contracts, but truly, team owner Ted Leonsis wants to make the playoffs much worse, so any move isn’t necessarily predicated on Wittman and Grunfeld’s lame-duck status…

Thus, ESPN’s Marc Stein has reported that the Wizards and Phoenix Suns have agreed on a trade that would send Marcin “The Polish Hammer” Gortat to Washington in exchange for Okafor. [UPDATE: and the Wizards made it official via press release just before 7 p.m. on Friday night.] Gortat is entering the final year of his current contract and is set to make $7,727,280 in 2013-14. Okafor is also in the final year of a contract that will pay him $14,487,500. (salary data per ShamSports.com)

Other players would obviously have to be included. So Stein also reported that Shannon Brown (in final year of contract for $3.5 million) and Kendall Marshall (who is in the second year of his rookie deal for just over $2 million) are also part of the deal. Stein indicates that the Wizards would also send a future draft pick to Phoenix, reportedly a 2014 first rounder that is protected to No. 12 via ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, who has indicated that Malcolm Lee going from Phoenix to Washington is also part of the deal. Check out Marc Stein’s official story/blurb here.

Of course, the Wizards would now have to “lose” some players to get to the roster maximum of 15. But whom? The Washington Post’s Michael Lee has indicated that Brown, Marshall, and Lee are not expected to stick around in D.C., so jettisoning the likes of Garrett Temple or Chris Singleton does not seem likely at this point. Worth noting: somewhat inflammatory pundit / sports author John Feinstein once wanted to trade John Wall for Kendall Marshall; it seems that Feinstein should not get an erection over this move just yet.

Otherwise, lots to digest here. Let’s give it a try:

  • Is this a panic trade? Yea, sorta… Definitely… I mean, what did you expect the Wizards to do? Word is that Okafor could be out for… well, a long time if not forever. I would call it more reactionary to an unforeseen circumstance than panic. Potato, po-ta-to.
  • According to the Rebound Percentage (REB%) stat (percentage of rebounds a player grabs while on the court), Okafor is slightly better than Gortat with a career rate of 18.3 (18.7 last season) to Gortat’s career rate of 17.6 (15.6 last season).
  • Gortat is also a slight downgrade defensively, BUT… he has a body, that body is tall (6-foot-11), that body is warm, and who else was available?
  • Don’t say Omer Asik. Yes, he will be traded by the Rockets at some point this season, but I imagine the asking price for Asik, a much better defender, is much greater and that Houston was in no rush to make a deal. (Worth noting that Asik is 27 and Gortat is 29.) Plus, the Wizards were probably hesitant about the two years remaining on Asik’s deal compared to just one for Gortat. Feel like I’m talking myself into Asik being a much better option. Who knows anymore.
  • A positive: Gortat is better at the offense (and probably makes Nene happy that he doesn’t have the play the dreaded center position). Via Stein’s Twitter: “Wizards can now plug a scoring center into their lineup, move Nene to the 4 where he belongs and still have $15+ mil in cap space come July”
  • No one likes having to give up the draft pick … “Very Grunfeldian,” it has been called. “A stupid move,” it is presumed, especially considering the history of the Grunfeld trading the fifth overall pick in 2009 for expiring contracts that just played one season in D.C. (Mike Miller and Randy Foye).
  • Yes, draft pick protection to No. 12 sounds cool, but not really. (David Aldridge reports that the pick is top-10 protected from 2015-19 and then there is none.)
  • The Wizards, Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld are saying this, essentially: “It is OK to risk a likely mid-first round pick in a deep draft for the mere ‘chance’ of making the playoffs.”
  • But, in all likelihood, the Wizards sneak into the playoffs (or not), send Phoenix a pick in the 15-17 range, Gortat walks as a free agent (/perhaps isn’t worth the money he’ll be asking for), and the Wizards are left with as big of a hole at center as ever with no 2014 draft “asset” to help in that regard.
  • That said, the Wizards need help now. They haven’t looked like a playoff team for, oh, about 85 percent of the preseason.
  • And if the preseason is just the “preseason” (and no reason to panic), then perhaps the Wizards don’t make this trade. But, alas, the Wizards looked so bad toward the end that it got too late to say that it’s too early … if that makes any sense at all.

Buckle up, Wizards fans, it’s always a Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde…

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.