The Washington Wizards have traded center Marcin Gortat to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for guard Austin Rivers.
The Washington Wizards have been looking for a trade partner for Gortat for some time now. Both Gortat and Rivers are in the final years of their contracts next year, with Rivers slated to earn $12.65 million next year and Gortat slated to earn $13.57 million next season.
Rivers has proven to be a very solid player so far in his NBA career. Last season he had a career-best year, averaging 15.1 points per game with 4.0 assists per game and 2.4 rebounds per game, shooting 42.4% from the floor.
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His addition gives the Wizards some much-needed bench depth, and a very talented guard to play behind John Wall and Bradley Beal. Considering the Wizards were bottom-three in the league in bench scoring, they could use the help.
Gortat, on the other hand, had the worst season of his career since becoming a regular starter the NBA, averaging just 8.4 points per game and 7.6 rebounds per game, shooting 51.8% from the floor.
However, the addition of Gortat to the Clippers gives L.A. a legitimate, starting center should DeAndre Jordan opt out of his contract and become a free agent, or if the Clippers arrange a DeAndre Jordan-focused trade.
This trade does raise a significant question for the Washington Wizards however—who’s playing center for them? If the season started today, the answer to that question would be Ian Mahinmi, but that’s hardly an upgrade over Gortat, not to mention Mahinmi’s significant injury history.
The rumors that are circling now, though, is that the Wizards have other plans for the center position—namely a sign-and-trade deal to acquire DeMarcus Cousins.
Regardless of whether that specific move happens or not, the Wizards need to address the center position this offseason in a big way. because having Mahinmi as your starter and Jason Smith as your primary backup center is not a recipe for success. Given that the Wizards have virtually no cap room, it seems like a trade would be the most viable path to take.