Gortat Trade Scenario

I know a lot of people are still at least partially keen on keeping Gortat, but I think this has some potential to work, so read out the proposal.

The rumors have started again that Kendrick Perkins might be amnestied this summer. His numbers have been down each season for the Thunder (to the point where he is almost unarguably the worst center averaging more than 20 minutes a night in the league), and in the playoffs this season his play has basically been atrocious. He's due to make more than $8 million next season, which is seemingly too much even for the tight fisted OKC front office to stomach for someone that isn't producing.

Thabo Sefolosha also seems to be the object of some trade rumors. His play has been solid this season, but he's never been a particularly efficient scorer, and it seems like OKC might want to make more use of Kevin Martin, who's quietly had a super effective season and has expressed interest in returning. With Sefolosha's contract expiring the next year and him likely looking for more money, it seems the team would have to make a call on who they want, and I would think Kevin Martin probably has the edge.

That brings up an interesting reemergence of a possible Gortat trade scenario: Gortat to OKC. The trade would basically break down like this:

Suns acquire: Hasheem Thabeet (C), Perry Jones (SF), 1st Rd Pick from OKC (via Toronto, projected at 12)

OKC acquires: Marcin Gortat, 1st Rd Pick from PHX (via Miami thru LAL), 2014 2nd Rd Pick from BOS

BOS acquires: Thabo Sefolosha

Boston gets the added benefit of getting to low-ball a bid on Perkins in the amnesty auction, and they get the type of player they thought Coutney Lee would be for a 1 year rental at a reasonable contract point. They are there as a facilitator, but they make out fairly well in the whole scenario.

OKC makes out really well, as they get a center that is much more productive than Perkins and likely fits better in their overall plans. They also still get a 1st round pick, and a future second to sweeten the pot.

It could be argued that the Suns get the worst end of this trade. We lose a starting caliber Center and replace him with a backup, gain a developmental prospect in Jones who's potential may not be superbly high, and a late lottery pick. There are benefits here, however.

Thabeet's contract is non-guaranteed, so we could potentially waive him and gain $1.3 in cap space. OR we could choose to keep him: he's a similar player to Haddadi, but younger and more mobile, so depending on the incoming coach's offensive and defensive schemes he could be a more suitable backup. Also, he might benefit from working with Ralph Sampson, who's currently on staff in a player development role. That could actually be an ideal match in terms of a mentor, because Thabeet actually strongly resembles Sampson as a player.

While Jones definitely didn't wow in his very limited time this season (280 total minutes), in most of the games he played more than 10 minutes this season his numbers are in the average range, and his numbers in general improved after the All-Star break. At the same time, he had a really pretty good year in the D-League. He played 32 minutes a game and averaged 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal per contest, pretty respectable numbers. I think he definitely has upside, but he's never going anywhere behind Durant because their games are too similar, so he has limited value to OKC.

And then there is the Toronto pick. Its only Top 3 protected, so barring a terrible misfortune we'd get it this season. Projected to still be on the board at the 12th pick are potentially Cody Zeller, Dario Saric and Kelly Olynyk. The Suns could grab Oladipo with the 1st pick and Saric with the second and potentially have the wings of the future. Saric is likely to play overseas next season, which isn't a terrible problem. We could also go Olynyk, though I have more reservations taking him with a lottery pick.

So there you have it. A potential Gortat trade. I'm waiting for the inevitable "Gorat is worth more than this!" claims, to which I say, maybe, but who at the moment needs a middle of the road starting center except a contending team? And how many contending teams are able to absorb Gortat's contract without saddling us with a crappy one?

Altogether, I think this satisfies what I generally consider to be the key criteria when handling when to trade or keep a player. First, we're getting back actual assets. A lottery pick and recent first round pick are nothing to sneeze at. In terms of value, its actually pretty high. Second, it ensures that we get something for Gortat, as he is coming up on the end of his contract and it does not seem likely we retain him, or that he wants to be here, for that matter.

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