WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- I love Wizards fans.
They despise their general manager more than life itself. They already think Otto Porter is going to be a bust.
Out of all the major sports in D.C., Wizards fans are the first to completely overreact and blast the team for any move they make. Blasting the Wizards is not hard. It's become habitual and often fun. One of my favorite pieces I ever wrote was on Jordan Crawford. But Wizards fans shouldn't be upset about the trade that went down on Friday.
Trading a broken down Emeka Okafor and a protected first round pick for Marcin Gortat all but guarantees two things:
1) John Wall writing "playoffs" on his shoes will now come true
Okay, so a Gortat/Nene combination is exactly Tim Duncan/David Robinson. But outside of the Pacers, is there are more versatile frontcourt in the Eastern Conference? Emeka Okafor doesn't give opponents matchup problems. Gortat does, especially since he can run the floor as well as any true center in the NBA. People will lash out on his statistics last season, but he had zero help in Phoenix. Goran Dragic led the team in scoring. And you think watching the Wizards is painful. Yikes.
The bottom line for the Wizards this season is that they must start out of the gates with a good record. They need the immediate confidence. Plugging a Kevin Seraphin/Trevor Booker/Jan Vesely combination was not going to end well while Okafor rehabbed a herniated disc in his neck, an injury that tends to be a nagging one. Gortat solidifies an already respectable starting five.
2) The Wizards will use this trade to show the rest of the league they can be landing spot for a star
People who actually think the Wizards need a mid-first round pick in the 2014 draft for the future of this team are the people who completely over analyze the NBA.
Let's randomly look at one of the better NBA draft's in 2010, picks 12-19. Is Xavier Henry, Ed Davis, Patrick Patterson, Larry Sanders, Luke Babbit, Kevin Seraphin, Kevin Seraphin, Eric Bledsoe or Avery Bradley going to alter your franchise enough to hold onto the pick. Sanders is legit. Outside of that? Almost always, players 12-19 are not franchise building blocks.
It's so simple what the Wizards need: ONE MORE STAR. Ideally it's LaMarcus Aldridge. It might end up being Chris Bosh, a free agent to be. Maybe it's Greg Monroe, a restricted free agent in Detroit.
One things for sure: no free agent is going to consider the Wizards if they miss the playoffs again. Gortat has an expiring $7.7 million contract off the books following this season. Yes, he may be a rental this season -- unless he plays out of his mind. I get that Okafor's expiring contract is $14.5 million, but the Wizards aren't losing $7 million in cap room because they are cutting Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall and Malcolm Lee. And let's not forget Trevor Ariza is coming off the books too in 2014.
The Wizards are trying to showcase themselves to the rest of the league as taking the next step as a franchise. Gortat helps their image and record immediately.