Joe Kaiser has a piece up on ESPN Insider speculating on possible trade destinations for Marcin Gortat, who the Suns could move if their season goes off the rails. Phoenix is currently 4-7 and second last in the Western Conference. Kaiser argues the most logical place for Gortat is in Boston.
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.
Forget for a second the specific deal Kaiser proposes. The Celtics aren’t going to include their only two strong defenders at the SG spot with Dwayne Wade in Miami. Focus instead on the prospect of Gortat in Boston. This is exactly the kind of move the Celtics need to consider if they’re going to pose a real challenge to the Heat in the playoffs. There is an argument to be made Gortat is as close to a perfect compliment to this Celtics core as anyone else in the league.
(Don’t worry. You Josh Smith, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson supporters will get your days in court. There’s enough evidence to hear those cases).
As we’ve started to chronicle (yet again), the Celtics are an atrocious rebounding team. They’re 27th in the league by rate. This is the kind of critical weakness that can undo a team’s championship hopes, like it did to Boston’s in the 2010 Finals. Moreover, while Gortat is a very strong rebounder, he would instantly become Boston’s best shotblocker (he’s the second best shotblocker in the league so far this season).
Unconvinced? There’s more. At a youthful 28, Gortat can also get up and down the floor well enough to operate in Boston’s uptempo lineups. He’s a skilled pick and roll/pop guy, which fits in perfectly with Rajon Rondo. Or Jason Terry. Or Paul Pierce. Gortat also makes less money — $7.3M this season, $7.7M next — than Jeff Green. Which makes my heart hurt.
If they decide to move him, Phoenix could and should demand a serious haul for a guy like Gortat. With many players ineligible to be dealt until the new year, they have time to assess their own prospects and interest around the league. It should be a seller’s market. Would Danny Ainge meet the asking price if it was Courtney Lee, Jared Sullinger and a 2013 first round pick? That’s not an absurd request at all. Gortat is worth that kind of haul. And Boston has the kind of depth to absorb a two or three-for-one deal.
It’s early to get into trade talk but some of the weaknesses on this Celtics team are holdovers from years previous. Gortat addresses many of them.