5:23pm: TNT’s David Aldridge’s tweets more about the protection on the first-round pick the Wizards are sending to Phoenix: If it falls inside the top 12 for 2014, it’ll be top-10 protected from 2015 through 2019, and unprotected after that.
4:24pm: The Wizards will acquire Marcin Gortat from the Suns, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein (via Twitter). Stein reports that Emeka Okafor will head to Phoenix in the deal, while Shannon Brown and Kendall Marshall will join Gortat en route to Washington (Twitter link).
Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com fills in a couple more details, tweeting that the Suns will acquire a protected 2014 first-rounder, while Malcolm Lee will also head to Washington. According to Goodman (via Twitter), the first-round pick acquired by Phoenix will be top-12 protected in ’14. The Suns now hold the Pacers’, Wolves’, and Wizards’ first-round picks, in addition to their own.
For the Wizards, the move will provide more scoring punch in the frontcourt, not to mention a healthier center — Okafor is out indefinitely with a herniated disc, whereas Gortat can be plugged into the lineup immediately. Brown, Marshall and Lee appear to be salary throw-ins, as Michael Lee of the Washington Post tweets that they aren’t expected to stick in Washington.
By reaching an agreement before the season begins, the Wizards will be able to complete the four-for-one trade without waiving three players already on their roster. Once Washington finalizes the deal, it will have 18 players on guaranteed contracts, three of which will need to be dropped before opening night, and it looks like the three extra players in this swap are the prime candidates.
All five players involved in the trade are essentially on expiring contracts. Only Marshall has years on his deal beyond 2013/14, but the final two years on his contract are team options, which the Wizards could decline if they so choose.
For the Suns, the deal clears up their roster logjam. Phoenix had 17 players with full or partial guarantees, but now will be carrying just 14 players, giving the club the option of adding another free agent.
The salaries going in both directions nearly match up exactly, so neither team gains a significant amount of cap relief in the deal, but the Wizards should save about $370K in the move. Considering the team had less than $1MM in breathing room before hitting the tax line, that extra flexibility could come in handy by season’s end. Washington also should create a small trade exception in the transaction which, by my calculations, will be worth about $1.25MM.