Insider help (Gortat trades)

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Insider help (Gortat trades)

I'm mainly interested in what Kaiser thinks OKC would have to give up for Gortat, as Perk is garbage. Thanks a bunch.

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Marcin Gortat in Boston? OKC?

Big man could fetch Phoenix a nice return; here are five trade ideas

Updated: November 17, 2012, 11:39 AM ET

By Joe Kaiser | ESPN Insider

On the day the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns orchestrated a six-player deal that sent Marcin Gortat to the Suns in December 2010, I remember immediately texting a friend in the Phoenix area for his take. "A win for the Magic or a win for the Suns?" I wrote.

After a few rounds of texts, we came to the same conclusion: this trade (which also brought Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus to Phoenix in exchange for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark) was a toss-up, too hard to determine or even predict a winner.

Fast-forward nearly two years, and Gortat -- once a little-used backup who spelled Dwight Howard for 15 minutes a night in Orlando -- is an everyday reminder why neither of us are making a living as an NBA scout.

Today, the 28-year-old Polish big man is one of the premier centers in the league, a massive 6-foot-11 interior presence that can change games on both ends of the court. And he has the numbers to back it up.

Synergy Stats Technology indicates that Gortat's offensive points per play ranked among the best in the league in both 2010-11 (1.08 PPP ranked No. 28) and 2011-12 (1.047 PPP ranked No. 37). Consider his rebounding numbers (9.73 per game since joining Phoenix) and improving defensive skills (3.2 blocked shots per game this season ranks No. 2 behind Serge Ibaka), and Gortat's value becomes even clearer.

The Suns' predicament

Before the season started, ESPN's own John Hollinger pegged Phoenix to finish No. 15 in the Western Conference in 2012-13. That's dead last to you and me.

So it doesn't take a team of experts to tell you that this Suns' team simply don't have the look of a contender. Thus, we have to believe the Suns' brass might have to decide whether dealing Gortat, whose value is at an all-time high, could be the only way this team improves.

It's not that simple, though. Gortat is one of the team's best players, he plays a premium position, and he's one of the league's best bargains -- owed $7,258,960 this season and $7,727,280 in 2013-14.

The Suns certainly don't have to trade him, but if they keep him they'll have to do so with the idea that they'll be able to re-sign him to a long-term deal, however expensive it might be. Keep in mind what Roy Hibbert (four-years, $58 million) and JaVale McGee (four-years, $44 million) signed for as restricted free agents this past offseason.

That said, here are five possible trade partners with Phoenix for Gortat:

1. Boston Celtics | Gortat for Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee

No team makes as much sense as Boston, which badly needs a big man to pair with Kevin Garnett in the frontcourt before the window of opportunity closes in the KG/Paul Pierce era. The Celtics have as many tradeable young talents as any playoff caliber team, and though they've been very reluctant to include young defensive star Avery Bradley in any deal, they may have to in order to coax Gortat out of the Suns. Bradley would be exactly what the Suns are looking for if they have to move Gortat -- a young, hard-working shooting guard who can come in and fill a position of need.

2. Milwaukee Bucks | Gortat and Kendall Marshall for Tobias Harris, John Henson and Drew Gooden

Center is the one glaring weakness for Scott Skiles' team, which is why Gortat would make a lot of sense in Milwaukee. He'd provide an immediate upgrade over Samuel Dalembert, Larry Sanders and Joel Przybilla and relieve some pressure off of Ersan Ilyasova in the frontcourt as well.

Phoenix already has Luis Scola and Michael Beasley signed for the next three seasons, so there isn't a huge need for more forwards on the roster, but the opportunity to added a pair of talented young players like Tobias Harris and John Henson would be too much to pass up, even if it means taking on Drew Gooden's salary through 2014-15.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder | Gortat for Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb and a first-round pick in 2013

Phoenix needs to upgrade at shooting guard, and finding a way to bring in a versatile young talent like Jeremy Lamb while replacing Gortat with a proven veteran like Perkins would be a solid way to do so. OKC could also dangle talented rookie Perry Jones in such a deal with the Suns, but we think Lamb makes more sense. From the Thunder's perspective, adding a guy like Gortat would be a big offensive upgrade over Perkins without sacrificing size or toughness in the interior.

4. Portland Trail Blazers | Gortat for Meyers Leonard, J.J. Hickson and a first-round pick in 2013 (no lottery protection)

The hope for Phoenix would be to replace Gortat with a promising young center in Meyers Leonard who comes with a lower price tag and a high ceiling. In addition to Leonard, the key to making this deal work would be acquiring Portland's first-round pick in the 2013 draft, with the hopes that it'd end up being a somewhere in the top 10.

Portland likes Leonard, but with the rebuilding process moving along faster than expected thanks to Damian Lillard's immediate impact, the team may not be willing to wait for the 7-foot-1 rookie to develop. Adding Gortat to go with LaMarcus Aldridge on the front line would give the Trail Blazers quite a strong starting unit, making them a few solid bench players away from becoming real contenders out West.

5. New Orleans Hornets | Gortat for Austin Rivers and Al-Farouq Aminu

Phoenix would bring in two young players at positions of need, with the hope that Austin Rivers becomes a star and Al-Farouq Aminu at least a solid role player. It would admittedly mean cutting bait early on Rivers if you're New Orleans, but it'd be worth doing for the chance to bring in one of the game's marquee centers to pair with Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson in the frontcourt. When healthy, the Hornets could present a starting unit composed of Greivis Vasquez, Eric Gordon, Davis, Anderson and Gortat, with Robin Lopez coming off the bench in a role for which he is more suited.

Joe Kaiser is a writer for ESPN Insider's Rumor Central, and also writes regularly for Insider on pro and college hoops. Follow him on Twitter @JoeKaiserSports.

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I'm mainly interested in what

I'm mainly interested in what Kaiser thinks OKC would have to give up for Gortat, as Perk is garbage. Thanks a bunch.

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I love Gortat but I really

I love Gortat but I really don't see the Blazers losing a promising Leonard AND a performing underpaid still young Hickson AND moreover a draft pick (with nolottery protection ?!!!!!) to get Gortat.

I don't think NO would try to get a 28 year old center (FA in 2 years who will ask for big money) if it means losing Rivers and Aminu. They already have Lopez who is performing pretty well and are in rebuilding mode...

The boston deal could work even if I don't see the Suns agreeing such a deal. Maybe with a 1st round draft pick in teh package.

The best solution is clearly OKC. They need him and they have young attracting talents (Jones, Lamb, Jackson), a starting center caliber player with Perkins, AND draft picks from Houston...

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