Wizards Land New Starting Center!

Posted on October 26, 2013 by Cory Grubbs

Welcome aboard Marcin!

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Last night at around 5:30 PM EST, the Twitter-verse was blowing up about a Wizards trade. ESPN made it official at 9:50 PM that Marcin Gortat was headed to the Washington Wizards. Shipped out of Washington was Emeka Okafor and his $14.5 million expiring contact plus a 2014 top 12 protected first round pick. In return the Wiz landed Gortat, Malcolm Lee, Kendall Marshall and Shannon Brown. Lee, Marshall, and Brown aren't expected to stick in Washington as they were thrown in to match salaries as Gortat would be Washington's 15 player under contract. 

Below is fellow WizardsXTRA teammate Leigh Allen's reaction to the trade:

"I wrote in my article on WizardsXTRA a couple of days ago that I’d strongly advise against trading for Gortat. Now, I’m already trying to talk myself into this trade – which is never a good sign. Firstly, even if the Gortat experiment goes horribly wrong (injuries, not producing etc.), then the Wizards still have two decent expiring trade chips in Ariza and Gortat to salary dump to tanking teams. Sure, they had to relinquish a top-12 protected first round pick to get him but when exactly was the last time the Wizards picked a decent player in the teens? Their track history isn’t great – Young, McGee, Singleton, Seraphin to name a few. My only gripe with the trade is that if Gortat does produce similar to he did in Phoenix, then how much would the Wizards be willing to spend on him to come back without damaging their hopes of throwing max-money at restricted free agents like Greg Monroe. The trade thrusts the Wizards back in the playoff mix alongside Atlanta, Detroit and Cleveland for the 6-8 seed. Prior to the trade, they were one tier below this group on the outside looking in. Dealing away Okafor this early also indicates that either his injury was worse than they let on or that the organization didn’t feel comfortable giving Seraphin, Vesely or Booker the extra minutes and responsibility – both very plausible."

This trade was undoubtedly made because Okafor wasn't coming back anytime soon. Also I can see why Grunfeld would have had sleepless nights thinking that some combination of Seraphin, Vesely, or Booker would be playing heavy minutes this season with Meke sidelined. Trust me Ernie, I did too. But the biggest effect from this trade will be that Nene can now slide back to his natural PF position while Gortat mans the five spot. This will hopefully help keep the Big Brazilian as healthy as possible as he wont have to bang against NBA centers night in and night out for heavy minutes. 

In our season prediction post from this week I predicted that Washington would land Omer Asik before the end of November due to the failed experiment of playing Dwight and Asik side by side. This actually worked out better as Gortat's contract also expires at the seasons end where Asik is due $14 million next season. If the Big Polish Dominator (my new nickname for him) sticks in Washington past this season, I don't see a scenario where he commands $14 million a year. Marcin also is more talented on the offensive side of the ball, which we all know is where the Wizards can struggle at times. Plus, Gortat now has a couple days to practice with his new running mates to get ready for the season opener on Wednesday. And he seems pretty excited about it!

This trade should be the extra punch that the Wiz Kids need to make their playoff push this season. It's obvious that Ernie is going all-in this season and it's playoffs or bust. If everyone remains heathly, this trade could be the difference between an 8th seed and a 6th or 7th seed. Let's keep our finger crossed!

And what do you get when you combine a Polack, a Brazilian, a Frenchman, and a Czech? The Washington Wizards front court. Bring on Detroit!!

next up:

Entries For The Wall/Beal Backcourt Nickname Contest

October 25, 2013

We asked you guys on Twitter for the best nickname for the Wall/Beal backcourt duo. Here are some of the responses.


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