The Washington Wizards made a series of moves this weekend in anticipation of the start of NBA season, Wednesday. Washington acquired center Marcin Gortat in exchange for a future first round pick and Emeka Okafor. Okafor suffered an unfortunate injury during the preseason, and is expected to be out indefinitely with a herniated disc in his neck.
Feb. 10, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat (right) against Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Washington pulled the trigger for Gortat, who averaged 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game a season ago, to sure up the frontcourt just before the start of the 82-game season. Gortat brings great versatility and size to the frontcourt, and has excelled in the last three seasons with the Phoenix Suns. Look for Gortat to be inserted immediately into the starting lineup, and expect him to make waves in his first season with the Wizards.
Also coming over in the deal were Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall (Bishop O’Connell/VA), and Malcolm Lee. Washington almost instantly waived all of these players in order to get the team’s roster down to the league mandated 15 players. Along with Okafor, the Wizards gave up a protected first round pick (top 12) which essentially guarantees the Suns a high draft pick in 2014.
The move by the Wizards sets a clear precedent that Washington’s management intends to compete for the playoffs, and believes they have a shot in the difficult Eastern Conference. The move is a very solid play by the Wizards and should bring stability to the ever-changing Washington roster.