20130528_mjr_su5_056

Marcin Gortat is a quality NBA starting center. He can play 30-35 minutes every night, putting up a double double and providing quality help defense. Every NBA team needs a quality starting center, the Suns being one of them, but the teams who need a guy like Marcin Gortat in 2013-14 are dwindling.

The question is not whether the Suns will trade Gortat, it's when. At 29 years old with an expiring contract, he doesn't fit the profile for the rebuilding Suns who won't (and shouldn't) sniff the playoffs until 2015 at the earliest. And the worst possible outcome is just watching Gortat walk away next summer.

To the surprise of many, new GM Ryan McDonough and PBO Lon Babby already turned swingman Jared Dudley and (with an assist from Lance Blanks) third-string PG Sebastian Telfair into a potential star player in combo guard Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe may turn out to be nothing more than a good sixth man, but that's his floor. His ceiling is much higher. Higher than any Suns player from last season's roster.

Can the new Suns front office make a similar move with Marcin Gortat, to acquire a young asset that's been buried behind a star and just needs the minutes to shine?

I have argued all along that Gortat has more value in trade than Jared Dudley. The issue facing McDonough is finding that partner who is both (a) in need and (b) holding the right assets to send back.

Let's review the potential suitors and what assets they might be able to offer in return.

Suitors for Gortat likely fit the following profile:

  • playoff expectations in 2013-14 - no team trying to tank will acquire Gortat
  • hole at center
  • quality asset(s) to send back

Off the table

These teams already have a quality center under contract: Brooklyn Nets (Brook Lopez), Charlotte (Al Jefferson), Chicago (Joakim Noah), Denver Nuggets (Javale McGee), Detroit Pistons (Greg Monroe), Golden State Warriors (Andrew Bogut), Houston Rockets (Omer Asik), Indiana Pacers (Roy Hibbert), Los Angeles Clippers (DeAndre Jordan), Memphis Grizzlies (Marc Gasol), Milwaukee Bucks (Larry Sanders), New York Knicks (Tyson Chandler), Portland Trailblazers (Robin Lopez, Myers Leonard), Sacramento Kings (DeMarcus Cousins), San Antonio Spurs (Tiago Splitter just re-signed), Washington (Emeka Okafor, Nene).

These teams are tanking the 2013-14 season: Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers

Need a center, but who knows what they want?

These teams could go either way in the next few weeks, toward building a playoff participant or tanking: Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors (Jonas Valencuinas?), Utah Jazz (Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors). All three are either missing centers, or they have youth at the spot that won't help them make the playoffs.

In fact, just this morning (July 5), the Jazz are looking into acquiring Andrew Bogut from Golden State. So, they aren't settling for kids like Favors and Kanter, indicating a desire to make the playoffs.

Potential Need, depending on the Dwecision

These teams might very well be desperate for a center if Dwight does not choose them: Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks.

Depending on how the Dwecision plays out and these teams' reaction to losing him, it's possible that they will want a veteran center on a 1-year deal to stopgap the 2013-14 season with an eye toward the playoffs.

The problem for the Suns is that neither team has any young assets to send back that compare to Eric Bledsoe (or really, any young assets at all). The Lakers cannot send any first-rounders out until 2017 at the earliest. And the Mavericks' (top-20 protected) 2014 first round pick has already been bandied about the league a few times, currently sitting in the lap of the OKC Thunder. And that protected pick rolls over as far out as 2018, when it becomes unprotected.

So, forget the Lakers.

It's possible the Mavericks would offer their 2014 #1 pick unprotected (like the Lakers did in 2013), where the Suns only get it if they are in the top 20, but I really doubt the Mavericks would go to that trouble for the 2013-14 season.

Definite Need for an upgrade at center

That leaves this final category of teams who may still be in the market for a starting quality center because they want to make the playoffs next spring. That doesn't mean they will acquire one. It just means they might want to explore their options.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs don't have a great option at center. They have played with Sideshow Bob (Andersen Varejao) at center for years, but that doesn't add wins and they really want to win next season. Their best pure center is second-year player Tyler Zeller, who isn't ready to play big minutes on a playoff caliber team.

Assets: the Cavs have a lot of young assets - Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller. With the recent acquisitions of Anthony Bennett and Earl Clark, along with Sideshow Bob's best position being PF, it's quite possible they would consider parting with Tristan Thompson for Marcin Gortat.

Miami HEAT

These guys are only on here because they need a center. The HEAT got by with Chris Anderson and Joel Anthony, but could always use an upgrade. Why not Gortat?

Assets: none. So there's no use thinking about the HEAT any more.

Minnesota Timberwolves

If the Cavs or someone else decide to go with signing Nikola Pekovic to a big offer, then the Wolves need a center.

Assets: The sad thing about the Wolves is that their only real, young assets are guards and Derrick Williams. They just drafted Shabazz Muhammad to go along with Rubio and Shved, and just signed two veteran shooters (Chase Budinger, Kevin Martin). There's just nothing worth sending back to the Suns here.

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans just traded their 2012-13 center for a bag of beans, and they weren't even magic beans. Pinto, I think. They definitely need a center.

Assets: the ever-available Eric Gordon is a luxury now in that expensive back court. Guard Austin Rivers is the only other kid with potential that NOLA would be looking to move. Their team is still very shallow, with no bench and no cap room to make one. NOLA could try to trade Gordon to the Suns in a many-to-one transaction to fill out their bench. Also, there are no first-round picks to trade until 2016 at earliest. The Pelicans just sent their 2014 pick to Philly.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Now here's an interesting option. The Thunder are stuck with Kendrick Perkins ($19 million over 2 years) and really need an upgrade to go all the way.

Assets: Serge Ibaka, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones and lots of first round picks. Yet, the Thunder suddenly really need Lamb to pan out for them, unless they sign one of the few remaining shooters on the market. The roster is totally top-heavy, but the Thunder will have to make a decision on how hard they want to go to the Finals. Adding the expiring Gortat while shedding Perkins' contract might just entice the Thunder to give up some future assets to get it done. The Thunder currently have their own 2014 first-round pick and the Mavericks' top-20 protected pick, plus their own 2015 and 2016 picks.

Summary

I never would have pegged Jared Dudley to the Clips for Eric Bledsoe, so maybe I've got this all wrong too. But it sure seems like the Suns' best bets for Gortat are the OKC Thunder (for Perkins and some combo of Jones, Lamb, picks), New Orleans Pelicans (Eric Gordon) and Cleveland Cavaliers (Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller).

Of course, Cleveland could just spend big on Nikola Pekovic or sign a free agent center like Chris Kaman, Zaza Pachulia or Sam Dalembert.

But OKC and New Orleans no longer have the cap space to sign anyone outright, so they will need to make a trade.

A wild card could be Utah. If the trade for Andrew Bogut falls through, they've already showed their hand that they want to make the 2014 playoffs and don't feel their current centers can get the job done. Might they turn to Gortat instead?

Keep your eyes and ears open, Suns fans. Things are always changing. But it just might be in the Suns best (and only) interest to keep Gortat for a while and wait to see who gets injured next season, opening up new needs for playoff teams.

20130528_mjr_su5_056

Marcin Gortat is a quality NBA starting center. He can play 30-35 minutes every night, putting up a double double and providing quality help defense. Every NBA team needs a quality starting center, the Suns being one of them, but the teams who need a guy like Marcin Gortat in 2013-14 are dwindling.

The question is not whether the Suns will trade Gortat, it's when. At 29 years old with an expiring contract, he doesn't fit the profile for the rebuilding Suns who won't (and shouldn't) sniff the playoffs until 2015 at the earliest. And the worst possible outcome is just watching Gortat walk away next summer.

To the surprise of many, new GM Ryan McDonough and PBO Lon Babby already turned swingman Jared Dudley and (with an assist from Lance Blanks) third-string PG Sebastian Telfair into a potential star player in combo guard Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe may turn out to be nothing more than a good sixth man, but that's his floor. His ceiling is much higher. Higher than any Suns player from last season's roster.

Can the new Suns front office make a similar move with Marcin Gortat, to acquire a young asset that's been buried behind a star and just needs the minutes to shine?

I have argued all along that Gortat has more value in trade than Jared Dudley. The issue facing McDonough is finding that partner who is both (a) in need and (b) holding the right assets to send back.

Let's review the potential suitors and what assets they might be able to offer in return.

Suitors for Gortat likely fit the following profile:

  • playoff expectations in 2013-14 - no team trying to tank will acquire Gortat
  • hole at center
  • quality asset(s) to send back

Off the table

These teams already have a quality center under contract: Brooklyn Nets (Brook Lopez), Charlotte (Al Jefferson), Chicago (Joakim Noah), Denver Nuggets (Javale McGee), Detroit Pistons (Greg Monroe), Golden State Warriors (Andrew Bogut), Houston Rockets (Omer Asik), Indiana Pacers (Roy Hibbert), Los Angeles Clippers (DeAndre Jordan), Memphis Grizzlies (Marc Gasol), Milwaukee Bucks (Larry Sanders), New York Knicks (Tyson Chandler), Portland Trailblazers (Robin Lopez, Myers Leonard), Sacramento Kings (DeMarcus Cousins), San Antonio Spurs (Tiago Splitter just re-signed), Washington (Emeka Okafor, Nene).

These teams are tanking the 2013-14 season: Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers

Need a center, but who knows what they want?

These teams could go either way in the next few weeks, toward building a playoff participant or tanking: Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors (Jonas Valencuinas?), Utah Jazz (Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors). All three are either missing centers, or they have youth at the spot that won't help them make the playoffs.

In fact, just this morning (July 5), the Jazz are looking into acquiring Andrew Bogut from Golden State. So, they aren't settling for kids like Favors and Kanter, indicating a desire to make the playoffs.

Potential Need, depending on the Dwecision

These teams might very well be desperate for a center if Dwight does not choose them: Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks.

Depending on how the Dwecision plays out and these teams' reaction to losing him, it's possible that they will want a veteran center on a 1-year deal to stopgap the 2013-14 season with an eye toward the playoffs.

The problem for the Suns is that neither team has any young assets to send back that compare to Eric Bledsoe (or really, any young assets at all). The Lakers cannot send any first-rounders out until 2017 at the earliest. And the Mavericks' (top-20 protected) 2014 first round pick has already been bandied about the league a few times, currently sitting in the lap of the OKC Thunder. And that protected pick rolls over as far out as 2018, when it becomes unprotected.

So, forget the Lakers.

It's possible the Mavericks would offer their 2014 #1 pick unprotected (like the Lakers did in 2013), where the Suns only get it if they are in the top 20, but I really doubt the Mavericks would go to that trouble for the 2013-14 season.

Definite Need for an upgrade at center

That leaves this final category of teams who may still be in the market for a starting quality center because they want to make the playoffs next spring. That doesn't mean they will acquire one. It just means they might want to explore their options.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs don't have a great option at center. They have played with Sideshow Bob (Andersen Varejao) at center for years, but that doesn't add wins and they really want to win next season. Their best pure center is second-year player Tyler Zeller, who isn't ready to play big minutes on a playoff caliber team.

Assets: the Cavs have a lot of young assets - Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller. With the recent acquisitions of Anthony Bennett and Earl Clark, along with Sideshow Bob's best position being PF, it's quite possible they would consider parting with Tristan Thompson for Marcin Gortat.

Miami HEAT

These guys are only on here because they need a center. The HEAT got by with Chris Anderson and Joel Anthony, but could always use an upgrade. Why not Gortat?

Assets: none. So there's no use thinking about the HEAT any more.

Minnesota Timberwolves

If the Cavs or someone else decide to go with signing Nikola Pekovic to a big offer, then the Wolves need a center.

Assets: The sad thing about the Wolves is that their only real, young assets are guards and Derrick Williams. They just drafted Shabazz Muhammad to go along with Rubio and Shved, and just signed two veteran shooters (Chase Budinger, Kevin Martin). There's just nothing worth sending back to the Suns here.

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans just traded their 2012-13 center for a bag of beans, and they weren't even magic beans. Pinto, I think. They definitely need a center.

Assets: the ever-available Eric Gordon is a luxury now in that expensive back court. Guard Austin Rivers is the only other kid with potential that NOLA would be looking to move. Their team is still very shallow, with no bench and no cap room to make one. NOLA could try to trade Gordon to the Suns in a many-to-one transaction to fill out their bench. Also, there are no first-round picks to trade until 2016 at earliest. The Pelicans just sent their 2014 pick to Philly.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Now here's an interesting option. The Thunder are stuck with Kendrick Perkins ($19 million over 2 years) and really need an upgrade to go all the way.

Assets: Serge Ibaka, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones and lots of first round picks. Yet, the Thunder suddenly really need Lamb to pan out for them, unless they sign one of the few remaining shooters on the market. The roster is totally top-heavy, but the Thunder will have to make a decision on how hard they want to go to the Finals. Adding the expiring Gortat while shedding Perkins' contract might just entice the Thunder to give up some future assets to get it done. The Thunder currently have their own 2014 first-round pick and the Mavericks' top-20 protected pick, plus their own 2015 and 2016 picks.

Summary

I never would have pegged Jared Dudley to the Clips for Eric Bledsoe, so maybe I've got this all wrong too. But it sure seems like the Suns' best bets for Gortat are the OKC Thunder (for Perkins and some combo of Jones, Lamb, picks), New Orleans Pelicans (Eric Gordon) and Cleveland Cavaliers (Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller).

Of course, Cleveland could just spend big on Nikola Pekovic or sign a free agent center like Chris Kaman, Zaza Pachulia or Sam Dalembert.

But OKC and New Orleans no longer have the cap space to sign anyone outright, so they will need to make a trade.

A wild card could be Utah. If the trade for Andrew Bogut falls through, they've already showed their hand that they want to make the 2014 playoffs and don't feel their current centers can get the job done. Might they turn to Gortat instead?

Keep your eyes and ears open, Suns fans. Things are always changing. But it just might be in the Suns best (and only) interest to keep Gortat for a while and wait to see who gets injured next season, opening up new needs for playoff teams.

From youtube.com, check out the eye-popping plays the Phoenix Suns new guard can make.

20130503_kdl_ad8_192

The WojBomb has dropped and the Jared Dudley trade everyone's been anticipating has been completed.

Per Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns have agreed to a three-team deal with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Clippers, Bucks and Phoenix have reached agreement on a three-team deal, sources tell Y!

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2013

Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler will go to the Suns, Jared Dudley and JJ Redick to the Clippers and 2 2nd-round picks to Bucks, sources tell Y

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2013

In the sign and trade scenario, Redick will get a four year, $27 million deal with the Clippers, sources tell Y! Sports.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2013

Suns GM Ryan McDonough has started the Suns rebuilding with a young point guard -- Eric Bledsoe -- and a center -- Alex Len.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2013

Dave has done it yet again. Just a few short hours ago he wrote about patience, and now here are the Suns making a big move.


Caron Butler is a sizable expiring contract, as he is on the books for $8 million for one more year.

But this deal was about getting Eric Bledsoe, a highly prized young point guard who spent the last two years backing up Chris Paul. Bledsoe is a tremendous athlete and can do a lot of things on the court. He is on the books for $2.6 million for this coming season before his qualifying offer id due.

This gives the Suns a lot of flexibility. Ryan McDonough traded away one of the Suns best assets in Jared Dudley, but getting Bledsoe in return frees up Goran Dragic as a movable asset. Or maybe the Suns could even look to move Bledsoe again.

Either way, this move gives the Suns more young talent and flexibility. It's tough to see Dudley go, but this is a pretty good return for him.

20130407_jla_as8_426

In the rumored deal, the Kings would get back a solid center (Robin Lopez) and starting point guard (Greivis Vasquez) for letting Tyreke Evans walk away. Sounds like a GREAT deal for Sacramento.

Except that Sacramento doesn't need Robin Lopez at all. They already have DeMarcus Cousins, Chuck Hayes and Jason Thompson on the front line to rotate in the pivot.

The other problem is that New Orleans really DOES need a starting center but they are sending out Lopez to make the S-n-T work after acquiring Jrue Holiday in the draft.

How about the Suns getting involved in this deal by sending Gortat to New Orleans and getting Robin Lopez back?

Clarification here: there is NO RUMOR that the Suns are involved in any discussions on this. It's just me speculating.

New Orleans, who has a glut of guards now, could send Austin Rivers out to Sacramento with Vasquez, with Sacramento sending a protected first round pick to the Suns. NOLA has shown rumored interest in shopping Rivers.

Sacramento gets: Grievis Vasquez, Austin Rivers

New Orleans gets: Tyreke Evans, Marcin Gortat

Phoenix gets: Robin Lopez, protected first round pick

Lopez is younger, cheaper and less talented than Gortat, but can be a starter for his first NBA team while Alex Len develops.

What say you, Suns fans. Is this enough booty for Gortat?

Poll
Is Robin Lopez and a protected #1 from Sacramento enough for Gortat?

  769 votes | Results

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