Takin’ Care Of Business
Marcin Gortat photo courtesy Monumental Network
What do you think of the Wizards trade for Marcin Gortat? Let us know at the DC PRO reddit page.
A season after injuries sidelined what would have been a playoff team, Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld is making sure it doesn’t happen again. Center Emeka Okafor is sidelined indefinitely and Washington could not enter the 2013-’14 regular season with Nene their only established post player.
Entering his seventh season in the NBA, Gortat should thrive with the Wizards strong perimeter game and the slick inside passing of Nene. Gortat “arrived” as Dwight Howard’s backup during the playoffs in 2008 and 2009. Acquired by Phoenix, Gortat showed what he could do in a starting role, averaging career highs of more than 15 points and ten rebounds a game in 2011-’12. Gortat won’t turn 30 until February and long term, may be a nice option for Washington until they can bring in younger options.
I find it a bit surprising that the Wizards will waive the three guards that came east in the Gortat package. Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall and Malcolm Lee are guaranteed nearly $6.5 million dollars this season, which the Wizards will be paying, unless another NBA club claims them off of waivers. I understand the Wizards had 15 players under guaranteed contract prior to the deal and with the regular season fast approaching are under deadline. I also must assume that the Wizards coaches evaluated these three players and prefer their existing roster.
Lets quickly review what we are letting go;
Shannon Brown- Illinois Mr.Basketball and a McDonald’s All-American in high school. Following a solid career at Michigan State, Brown was a first round pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2006. Brown emerged while with the Los Angeles Lakers, leading to a free agent contract with the Suns.
Kendall Marshall- After leading Bishop O’Connell to a championship, the Dumfries, Virginia native accepted a scholarship at North Carolina. Marshall set ACC and school records for assists as a sophomore and it was his injury that may have kept the Tar Heels from taking the title. Marshall turned pro the following season and was the 13th overall pick of the Suns.
Malcolm Lee- Following a first team All Pac-10 season, Lee decided to give up his final year of eligibility at UCLA and enter the NBA draft. Lee was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Chicago Bulls and has been traded several times since.
While the Wizards are “takin care of the business” for this season, they are also looking to the future. Washington has reportedly declined fourth year options on both Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton. Vesely has been under a microscope since he was taken sixth overall in the 2011 draft out of the Czech Republic. As for Singleton, once he went down for two months with a foot injury, he lost all opportunity to prove himself.
Looking ahead, the Wizards should be able to pursue a top free agent following this season, but have more decisions to make. John Wall is signed forever and guard mate Bradley Beal has several more seasons under team control. Martell Webster and Otto Porter are inked for several more seasons giving foundation at small forward. Nene is under contract through 2016, but that is where decisions must be made. Newly acquired Gortat has an expiring contract, will the Wizards work on an extension or is he a one year rental? Gortat will have a decision to make himself after April 25th as he may choose to sign a three year extension (if the wizards are offering) or explore free agency. Kevin Seraphin and Trevor Booker could be testing free agencies, will they have qualifying offers?
The Wizards appear to be trying to make a run this season, while at the same time get themselves ready to continue reworking the roster. With a little luck, they may be able to do both.
Tom Blaz is a co-owner of the DCPRO Sports Report. You may follow Tom on twitter @AubieTom