Phoenix Suns GM: Draft pick, depth led to Marcin Gortat trade
After all, the Phoenix Suns' roster needed a makeover, and new GM Ryan McDonough has shown no hesitancy to make it happen.
"It's a deal that came together, really, over the past week," McDonough told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo Friday. "We knew there'd be a lot of interest in Gortat."
McDonough said the 29-year-old Gortat, who had spent the better part of the last three seasons in Phoenix and averaged 11.1 points with 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game last season, is one of the top 15 centers in the NBA. So, when Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld called him up and expressed interest, a deal was hashed out.
"We've been going back and forth for a few days and you never know if a deal like this is going to get done or not," McDonough said. "We wanted a pick.
"We had, potentially three first-round picks in this 2014 draft that's shaping up to be one of the best in a decade, but we wanted to add one more if we could."
It was with that in mind that McDonough pressed to include the pick, and once the lottery protections were agreed to in a way that satisfied both clubs, a deal was struck.
But the desire to add another pick came at the expense of Gortat, who was penciled in to start for the Suns but was also set to become a free agent after the season. Because while Okafor is certainly a capable player when healthy, the fact of the matter is right now he is out indefinitely with a neck injury. And with rookie Alex Len still working his way back from ankle surgery, it would appear that second-year pro Miles Plumlee, acquired in the deal that sent Luis Scola to the Indiana Pacers, will get the nod.
"His emergence over the past few months since we made the trade with Indiana and his play in Summer League and preseason, that was one of the main reasons we decided to go ahead and do this deal," he said. "We feel like he's a starting center in the NBA."
Plumlee appeared in just 14 games for the Pacers last season, averaging 0.9 points and 1.6 rebounds in nearly four minutes per contest, but has impressed Suns brass since joining the team.
McDonough added that in Plumlee and Len he believes the team has two young, starting-caliber centers, and along with Channing Frye the team has enough depth to handle the position going forward.
As for Okafor, who averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season, he said there is no timetable for when the former number-two overall pick will be able to return to the court.
Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
- Phoenix Suns don't have a point guard in top ten of WARP projections
- Phoenix Suns 2014 preseason schedule released
- The Pulse: Most say Eric Bledsoe and agent Rich Paul are at fault for contract standoff with Phoenix Suns
- Phoenix Suns single-game tickets now on sale
- New Phoenix Suns guard Isaiah Thomas undergoes wrist surgery
- Chris Sheridan- sheridanhoops.com - Tuesday August 19Chris Sheridan believes there is one team that could easily make a max contract offer to Eric Bledso
- Who impressed/who depressed - Monday August 18Dan and Vince look back at who impressed and depressed them over the weekend.
- Adrian Wojnarowski- YahooSports NBA writer - Tuesday August 12Adrian Wojnarowski says Eric Bledsoe has backed himself into a corner.
- Bickley Blast - Tuesday August 12Now that Donald Sterling is gone, who is the worst owner in sports?
- Jerry Colangelo, Managing Director of USA Basketball - Friday August 8Jerry Colangelo talks about the Paul George injury and Kevin Durant's departure from Team USA.