NBA Trade Rumor: Phoenix Suns Marcin Gortat, P.J. Tucker for Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb and pick?

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

According to Paul Coro of azcentral.com, there was rumor over the All-Star Break of the Oklahoma City Thunder possibly taking Marcin Gortat in exchange for a bad contract, rookie Jeremy Lamb and future first-round draft pick.

Nothing more has been made of this rumor, so it may have already died on the vine.

I know that the Phoenix Suns are extremely averse to letting rumors fly of actual, live trade talk, so this may be no more than a one-way pipe dream. Yet this rumor appears heavily in favor of the Suns, despite Perkins having another year on his contract than Gortat while being a much inferior player at this point in their careers.

The Phoenix Suns have always liked rookie Jeremy Lamb, who was drafted one spot ahead of the Suns' #13 selection last June and later used by Houston (along with a guaranteed lottery pick and SG Kevin Martin) to acquire All-Star James Harden.

Lamb is buried on the bench of Finals contender, playing behind Thabo Sefolosha and Kevin Martin, so little is known of his actual NBA game at this point. But he did play well in summer league and preseason, so the promise is there.

Suns fans have begun to lose their love for the Polish Machine, Marcin Gortat, who has displayed inconsistent energy throughout the season to further exacerbate his offensive struggles with the loss of Steve Nash setting him up for easy scores.

But Gortat is one of only a handful of NBA players averaging at least 11 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks on the season and is only a season removed from averaging a double-double in his first season+ of starting in the NBA. Gortat's legs are fresher than his 28 years given that he only started playing basketball in his teens.

Yet Gortat's greatest long-term value to a team like the Thunder is that his contract is a bit cheaper and expires a full year earlier than Perkins, allowing the Thunder to better manage the dreaded luxury tax penalties that kick in soon.

To get the Suns to eat Perkins' contract, the Thunder would have to throw in assets, which Lamb and a future #1 pick would satisfy.

Such is the new world of the NBA. In droves, the "haves" are beginning to seek out teams with cap space, and are being forced to include assets to get another team to help them stay under the luxury tax threshold. The Thunder themselves were pioneers in this world, as Suns fans know all too well, so it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if the Suns got to reap some of those rewards right back.

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