Suns/Thunder: Suns send Marcin Gortat, two future second round draft picks for Kendrick Perkins, Perry Jones III and a future 1st round pick.
– Literally seconds after the Thunder fell short in the NBA finals I recall there was an article on ESPN.com discussing a trade between Oklahoma City and Phoenix that could potentially send Steve Nash & Marcin Gortat to OKC in exchange for James Harden, Kendrick Perkins and other pieces. Well Nash is gone but Gortat is still a chess piece that’s still in play. There wasn’t anything actual factual in the article in terms of sources, but I found it very insightful and hey, it’s sports, trade rumors, trade scenarios are always constants get use to it.
How this benefits Phoenix:
Perkins will give the Suns that defensive presence inside that the Suns haven’t gotten consistently from Gortat. Perkins may not offer a lot offensively but Gortat is only averaging 11 points on the season so he’s not exactly giving you cotton candy and rainbows in terms of scoring. Perkins contract is almost identical to that of Gortat’s in terms of salary(Perkins makes a little more) but Perkin’s deal runs through the 2014-2015 season which gives the Suns a lot of stability at the center position.
The Suns have gone away from the pick and roll for the most part now that Steve Nash is gone and the offense has become a far more ball movement, and post-up offense in the valley. The Suns would also get Perry Jones III who has an oceans worth of potential but due to a knee issue and questionable character, fell all the way to 28th in the draft however he was projected as a lottery pick just a couple of days prior to the draft.
Jones has not been getting playing time with OKC this season as he has Nick Collison playing in front of him but Jones is a swing for the fence type of guy, if the Suns are fortunate he can become a star, if the Suns aren’t as fortunate he’ll still be an average player but if the Suns are just flat out unfortunate then Jones becomes a bust, but based on what I saw from him in preseason that seems unlikely.
How this benefits Oklahoma City:
Gortat certainly isn’t the defensive presence that Perkins is but Gortat provides a lot more on offense and in the area of shot blocking. The Thunder already has Serge Ibaka or should I say “Serge I-Block-Ya” On their squad and if they add Gortat to that line-up, make room in Oklahoma City for block city!
Gortat will also compliment the Thunder on offense, with a bunch of scorers who like to attack the paint, mainly Russell Westbrook, Gortat’s ability to knock down that 14-17 foot jump shot will allow the Thunder to spread to floor which they can’t do with Perkins. Gortat’s ability to run to floor will also compliment OKC, and with their number 1 competition in the west right now being the L.A Lakers, OKC will need to put together a line-up that can run against the Lakers but at the same time hold their ground defensively, and Gortat will be able to provide that for them. Should this trade go through OKC’s projected win total increases by 6 according to the ESPN trade machine.
Another factor in this is Perkin’s contract length as well as the annual increase in his salary. Perkins is set to make about 25 million in the next 3 seasons combined and approximately 9.2 million in 2014-2015, the Thunder may not want to give Perkins that kind of cash considering their cap position. If they take on Gortat’s deal, Gortat’s deal is a mere 14.5 million over the next 2 seasons which would save the Thunder 10 million dollars in the long run.
Assuming such a trade does go down, the Thunder will have only 4 players under guaranteed contracts through the 2014-2015 season. Those 4 players are Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison; they will have the option to bring back Jeremy Lamb as well as Reggie Jackson. However those 4 players are set to make a combined approximate total of 50 million dollars that season which puts OKC 8 million under the salary cap, BUT IF PERKINS IS STILL ON THE BOOKS, the Thunder will owe 5 players 59 million dollars(1 million over the cap) that season which gives them little or no room to make moves in free agency; don’t forget about the rookies that they’ll sign from now up til then, that’s another good chunk of salary OKC would have to account for.
Odds of this happening?
On a scale of 1-10 I would say a 3.5 but this trade makes so much sense for both teams that it can happen tomorrow. The Thunder already lost a huge chemistry piece in James Harden and they might not be willing to part with Perkins as well, but OKC is smart organization. If they go out and get Gortat it’ll give them a better shot in the playoffs against the bigger teams especially the Lakers. However the price for Gortat may be a little steep considering the Thunder would have to give up a young talent of Perry Jones’ caliber, but hey they have every reason to make this trade but at the same time they have every reason not to. Then again this is the NBA, where amazing happens.
To sum up!
This trade would make a lot of sense for both parties. Both teams have spoken in the past about a potential James Harden trade and I’m sure the topic of Marcin Gortat has been talked about once or twice in those conversations between the two teams. Oklahoma City is a small market team, they may have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook but at the end of the day their market is still worth about 1/3 of that of a team like the L.A Lakers. It’s clear at this point the Thunder are trying all they can to avoid the luxury tax and this trade will certainly help them with that not to mention it can potentially make them competitive.
As for the Suns they would get in return a young enigma with tremendous potential in Perry Jones, a first round draft pick, and a defensive center that can be their defensively anchor for a the next 3 seasons; he may not be the best but you can do a lot worse than Kendrick Perkins, a lot worse. Getting rid of Gortat could also open up more playing time for a guy like Markieff Morris whose currently backing up Luis Scola and is only playing about 20 minutes a game, and with playing time usually comes growth(In a perfect world); oh yeah, and Gortat won’t get to walk away for nothing two summers from now. I mentioned on many occasions before that if the Suns are struggling, Gortat will be gone. The Suns are at 4 – 7 right now with 2 home games coming up before heading out on a 6 game road trip, and should they loose 5 or 6 of those 8 games Gortat very well may be gone. Perhaps not to OKC but he’s headed somewhere, and you can take that to the bank!