PHOENIX, AZ - The Phoenix Suns traded four players to Washington Wizards in exchange for Center Emeka Okafor and a protected first round draft pick in 2014.
Phoenix sends Center Marcin Gortat, Point Guard Kendall Marshall, Guard Shannon Brown and Guard Malcolm Lee to the Wizards in exchange for Okafor and a top 12 first-round pick.
The trades put the Suns in position to possibly have four first-round draft picks in 2014: the Suns' pick, Indiana's pick (top-14 protected), Minnesota's pick (top-13 protected), according to a team press released.
All four players have just one year remaining on their current contracts with the Suns. Gortat was due $7,727,280 this season, while Shannon Brown is owed $3,500,000, Kendall Marshall with $2,005,560 and Malcolm Lee at $854,389. The team had two more years of team options on Marshall averaging around $2.5 million per season.
General Manager Ryan McDonough said all four players have been "valuable members of the Suns family the past few years" in a released statement. "We have enjoyed working with each of them and appreciate their hard work and professionalism."
Like the Suns players, Washington Center Emeka Okafor has one year left on his deal worth $14,544,687.
Okafor will bring a "veteran leadership" to the organization, according to a press release. He did not play for the Wizards during the 2013 preseason due to a herniated disk in his neck.
With Gortat averaging 8.5 rebounds and 11.1 points per game last year, Okafor brings similar production, averaging 8.8 rebounds and 9.7 points per game. Okafor has better career averages than Gortat, but it remains to be seen what the Suns will do with Okafor this season. He may end up being traded to a contender as well.
The website, Hoops Hype describes Okafor's skills as follows: "A defensive stalwart. Will block a lot of shots and grab a lot of rebounds. Great positioning and timing. Very intelligent. Bad free-throw shooter. Not very skilled offensively. Will probably never develop into a consistent scorer."
Given the fact that new coach Jeff Hornacek wants his players to have the ability to score, it's hard to imagine Okafor as a long-term solution for the Suns.
Kendall Marshall has already tweeted about the trade: "I'd like to thank the @Suns for giving me my first opportunity to play in this league. Wish them nothing but the best!" "Back to the crib! Happy to have the opportunity to play for @WashWizards and be close to my family!"