The Phoenix Suns appear to be committing to the future as they traded Marcin Gortat and others to the Washington Wizards for injured center Emeka Okafor and a protected first round pick Friday.
Gortat was one of the team’s most established and productive players, so according to ESPN’s Tom Penn, it’s clear what general manager Ryan McDonough’s strategy is right now.
“If your strategy is to lose as many as possible, this is a good deal for right now,” Penn told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo. “Gortat is one of their best players and probably one of their most tradeable assets, and they’ve clearly decided to turn him into the chance to get the first round pick.”
Penn believes such a commitment to tanking is risky, but it might be the right step for the organization.
“It’s a solid strategy in that it’s a clear strategy,” Penn said. “The team’s no longer going to be stuck in the middle as a best-case scenario, and that’s kind of where they were.”
Following the trade, the Suns could have up to four first-round selections in the 2014 NBA Draft, which is considered to be one of the most loaded in years. Penn cautioned that while it’s enticing to have so many potential young players, it takes time to develop them and called the process a “crapshoot.”
He added that there’s another direction the Suns can take with all of those assets.
“The other strategy with draft picks is they’re quite coveted, and there could be substantial moving around,” Penn said. “Particularly with all the cap room they have, they may be able to package those picks and a combination of young players and get a veteran at the right time.”
Though Penn is wary of how well the Suns will be able to executive this plan, he praised McDonough for his commitment to rebuilding.
“They’re positioned to do dynamic deals, which are a lot more fun than just linear, straight up deals,” Penn said. “I’ll give them credit, they’re going all in with this strategy.”