The reshaping of the Phoenix Suns’ roster continued Friday, as the team traded center Marcin Gortat, point guard Kendall Marshall shooting guard Shannon Brown and guard Malcolm Lee to the Washington Wizards.
ESPN’s Marc Stein was first to report the parameters of the deal, which has the Suns receiving center Emeka Okafor and a lottery-protected first-round pick in return.
A former number two overall pick in 2004, the 31-year-old Okafor averaged 9.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1 block per game for the Wizards last season. While a serviceable player who is currently out indefinitely with a neck injury, Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro is reporting the Suns will look to trade Okafor, too, if he is healthy enough to play.
If not, it is his expiring contract — and the draft pick — that enticed the Suns to make this deal.
“We are excited to add another first-round pick in what is shaping up to be the best draft in a decade,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough in a statement. “We now have a chance to make four first-round selections in 2014. Emeka Okafor is a solid veteran center who will help solidify our front line when and if he is able to return from injury.”
As of now the Suns projected to have four first-round picks in the potentially loaded 2014 draft.
The deal would end a solid three-year stretch in the Valley from Gortat, who was originally acquired from Orlando in December 2010. He had a career-best season in 2011-12 — his first as a full-time starter — averaging 15.4 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per night. His numbers dipped to 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks last season before a Lisfranc injury ended his campaign after 61 games.
While a solid contributor, the drafting of center Alex Len along with the addition of Miles Plumlee and return of Channing Frye made the 29-year-old somewhat expendable.
Brown played the last two seasons with the Suns, bouncing between a role off the bench and a spot in the starting lineup. An athletic guard who could score in bunches, he averaged 10.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 59 games last season.
The move would also end Marshall’s disappointing tenure with the team. Selected 13th overall by the Suns in 2012, the former North Carolina star struggled to find minutes and his shot. He played in just 48 games as a rookie and averaged 3 points to go along with 3 assists while shooting .371.
Lee was acquired by the Suns on draft night in the deal that also netted Phoenix Archie Goodwin.