Turns out Marcin Gortat is the Polish Prophet.
After saying he expected to be traded by the Phoenix Suns, the “Polish Hammer” was indeed dealt Friday to the Washington Wizards in a multi-player deal that sent injured center Emeka Okafor to what should be the worst team in the Western Conference.
Phoenix also gets a top-12 protected 2014 first-round pick and could have four first-round picks in a loaded draft.
“We have solidified our frontcourt by adding a player who has established himself as a very consistent and productive inside presence over the last three seasons,” Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld said. “Marcin’s ability to rebound, defend and score will allow us to continue where we left off last season and pushes us further toward our goal of becoming a playoff team.”
Gortat (6-11, 240) holds career averages of 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting .547 from the field in 357 career games (144 starts) in six seasons.
A native of Lodz, Poland, Gortat enjoyed his best season as a pro in 2011-12, when he averaged 15.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while starting in all 66 games for the Suns. He joined Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum as the only players that season to average at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.
In his last three seasons with Orlando and Phoenix, Gortat has averaged 12.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks while shooting .546 from the field. Last season, he averaged 11.1 points and a team-leading 8.5 rebounds while shooting .521 from the field in 61 games.
Gortat was Phoenix’s highest-paid player at $7.73 million this season, the last year of his contract. Okafor also is in the last year of his deal and will make $14.49 million this season.
Okafor, who has missed the entire preseason with a herniated disc in his back, averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in 79 games (77 starts) in his only season with the Wizards. The nine-year pro was originally acquired by the team along with Trevor Ariza for Rashard Lewis and a 2012 second-round pick on June 20, 2012.
Washington also acquired guards Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall and Malcolm Lee.
Only Marshall, a 2012 first-round pick who struggled as a rookie, has potential obligations beyond this season. He has a $2.09 million option for 2014-15 that has yet to be picked up.
With the addition of the top-12 protected pick from the Wizards, Phoenix now potentially possesses four first-round selections in the 2014 NBA draft: its own pick, Indiana’s pick (top-14 protected) and Minnesota’s pick (top-13 protected).
“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 RyanMcDonough. “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.”
With Gortat traded and Okafor injured, Phoenix’s centers are rookie Alex Len – also coming off an injury – and untested second-year man Miles Plumlee.
Brown (6-4, 210) has averaged 8.1 points and 2.0 rebounds in 374 career games with Cleveland, Chicago, the LA Lakers, Charlotte and Phoenix. Marshall (6-4, 195) averaged 3.0 points and 3.0 assists last season. Lee (6-5, 200) has averaged 4.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 35 career games with Minnesota before being traded to Phoenix last summer.