The Wizards have made a big splash today, adding veteran center Marcin Gortat in exchange for Emeka Okafor and a protected first round pick. Also included in the deal from Phoenix were Shannon Brown, Malcom Lee, and Kendall Marshall, though none are expected to remain with the Wizards.
With Okafor's services in question after suffering a neck injury before preseason, the Wizards had a hole in the middle which has now been filled with a true center in Gortat.
He is entering his seventh year in the league and holds career averages of 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting .547 from the field in 357 career games (144 starts).
He began making a name for himself as Dwight Howard’s backup over his first three and a half years in the league, then blossomed into a solid starting center in Phoenix over the last two and a half. He averaged 15.4 points and 10.0 rebounds per game in 2011-12, both career highs.
He’s a player who can help the team on both the offensive and defensive ends and is great in the pick and roll game. Gortat is often thought of as a guy who is solid defensively, a good shot blocker, can protect the rim, and has the ability to knock down midrange jumpers.
He will now likely pair up with Nene on the Wizards' front line and should form one of the better one-two post duos in the Eastern Conference.
If Okafor were healthy, this deal may never have come about, but with the Wizards now lacking depth in the front court, this move was one the Wizards saw as a need to immediately bolster their squad.
nene/gortat...I like that!!!!!— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) October 25, 2013
As for the first round pick, it is top-12 protected, which means if the Wizards were to end up back in the lottery and in the top 12, they would keep the pick. Because they expect to be a playoff team in 2013-14, this pick will likely fall somewhere in the middle of the first round and was something the team felt was expendable to get a solid veteran center like Gortat.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the trade including player and coach reactions along with Gortat's first interview right here on Monumental Network!