Washington Wizards trade Emeka Okafor and 2014 draft pick to Phoenix for Marcin Gortat

(Associated Press)

The Washington Wizards announced Friday evening that they have traded center Emeka Okafor and a protected 2014 first-round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns for center  Marcin Gortat.

The Suns will also send guards Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and Kendall Marshall to the Wizards. Washington is expected to release Brown, Lee and Marshall, a former standout at Bishop O’Connell in Arlington. The draft pick is protected through the No. 12 selection.

Okafor has missed training camp and is out indefinitely with a herniated disk in his neck. He averaged 9.7 points and a team-best 8.8 rebounds in 79 games last season and was hailed for bringing a professional, workmanlike attitude to the Wizards. Okafor is in the final year of a deal that will pay him $14.5 million this season.

In Gortat, the Wizards get a 6-foot-11 center who averaged 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds for the Suns last season. He missed the last 21 games of the season with a right foot injury, though he did play for his native Poland in the EuroBasket tournament this summer.

“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 President Ernie Grunfeld said in a team-issued statement. “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, 29, is in the last year of a contract that will pay him $7.7 million this season. Two seasons ago, he averaged a double-double (15.4 points, 10 rebounds). Gortat was a second-round pick by the Suns in the 2005 draft, though he was traded to the Orlando Magic in a draft-night deal. Beginning his NBA career in the 2007-08 season, he played three-plus seasons in Orlando before he was traded back to Phoenix in December 2010.

More to come…

Michael Lee is the national basketball writer for The Washington Post.



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Michael Lee · October 25, 2013

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