Sports’ greatest beauty lies in its unpredictability. Last weekend, just hours after WBJ sent to press an issue in which we had discussed the questions surrounding Polish center Marcin Gortat’s NBA future, many of the answers suddenly became clear. Mr Gortat was traded from the Phoenix Suns to the Washington Wizards in one of the most high-profile trades so far this year.
Marcin Gortat (center) has traded his Suns jersey for a Wizards one
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
In the multi-player trade, the Suns received injured center Emeka Okafor and a first-round draft pick next year. In return, they sent Mr Gortat and three other players to the Wizards. As a result, the Suns will have as many as four first-round picks in the upcoming draft: besides their own and the one from Washington, they had already received Indiana’s and Minnesota’s first-round picks in previous trades.
On the other hand, the Wizards will now finally have a center who can lead them to the playoffs, which they’ve missed out on for the past five years.
“Our players have played against him and understand we’re getting a quality player who has had real success in the NBA. [He] fortifies our front line and gives us a lot more size,” said Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld.
This year Mr Gortat will be playing for his next contract, which he hopes will be the biggest of his career. At 29 years of age he is still in his prime, and now has found a home where he can showcase his abilities. The Wizards are hungry for success, while the Suns only want to survive this year and then rebuild their squad completely with all those first-round picks. Mr Gortat would have had trouble shining under such circumstances.
In his Wizards debut, against the Detroit Pistons last Wednesday, Mr Gortat came off the bench and in 17 minutes scored nine points and had nine rebounds. Still, his team lost 113-102.
“It was the first time [playing for the Wizards]. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to play with the team. I try to help as much as I can,” said Mr Gortat, explaining that he had only three practices with his new team before the game.
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