Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  By RANDY HILL  |  Last updated 10/25/13
According to multiple reports, the Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards agreed to a trade Friday that includes a swap of big men Marcin Gortat and Emeka Okafor. Gortat would be joined by guards Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee and Kendall Marshall in a package to Washington that would deliver a protected first-round draft pick to Phoenix. The Suns might be required to absorb two additional Wizards players to make the deal work; specifics have not yet been announced. The level of draft-pick protection has been reported as a through-12 pick in 2014 and through-10 in ensuing drafts. Phoenix already had a potential stockpile of three first-round picks (including its own) for next June. Washington, which has been stuck in the draft lottery in recent seasons, is taking a big swing at the playoffs with the addition of Gortat, but even with the expected improvement of guards John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards landing back in the top 12 picks wouldn't be a shock. Like Gortat (who will be paid more than 7 million this season), Okafor is in the final year of a contract worth 14.5 million this season. The second overall pick in the draft after leading Connecticut to the NCAA championship in 2004, the 31-year-old Okafor averaged 9.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game last season. For the rebuilding Suns, the trade of the 29-year-old Gortat and his expiring deal was not unexpected, as the veteran center was considered perhaps the team's most valuable asset and became expendable with the selection of center Alex Len with the fifth overall pick in June's draft. Originally acquired in 2010, Gortat had a career year in 2011-12, his first season as a full-time starter, averaging 15.4 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. But his opportunities were more limited last year, and his numbers dropped to 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in an injury-shortened season. The trading of Brown, a veteran who was expected to share minutes at shooting guard, would be expected to provide more playing time for rookie Archie Goodwin, whom Phoenix traded up to select at No. 29 in the draft. Marshall, the Suns selection at No. 13 overall in the 2012 draft, has been unable to find his way into the lineup for most of the past two season. A prolific tweeter, he appeared to confirm the deal on his account, posting: "I'd like to thank the Suns for giving me my first opportunity to play in this league. Wish them nothing but the best!" -- but the tweet was later deleted. With Marshall's departure, Ish Smith is likely to make the Suns' roster as a backup point guard. The Suns could have as many as four first-round picks in the 2014 draft, as they hold their own as well as protected picks from the Wizards (reportedly), the Timberwolves (top-13 protected) and the Pacers (lottery-protected).
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