Darko Replacement Option No. 1: Phoenix Suns Marcin Gortat On Trade Block; Boston Celtics Interested


Nov. 17, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat (4) dunks the ball during the game against the Miami Heat in the second half at US Airways Center. The Heat defeated the Suns 97-88. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

With Darko Milicic now gone for the remainder of the season, the need for a true center in Boston has become even more pressing.  Enter the Polish Hammer.

Marcin Gortat is disenchanted with Alvin Gentry and the Phoenix Suns, and the Boston Celtics are said to be one of four teams interested in his services (the others include Orlando, Dallas and Chicago).

"“Unfortunately… I’ve been doing the dirty work all my life, and now I have to come back to that. I will fight for what’s mine. I’ll try to prove to the coach that I can play an important role in the offence. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m even an option for Gentry. He doesn’t even take me into consideration. The situation is critical. We’re playing the same thing we’ve been playing last year, but the truth is we have a completely different set of players. I don’t think it really works. I can’t get frustrated now though, I have to stay positive.” – Marcin Gortat"

The Celtics could use Gortat to do some of that “dirty work” and the chances are that playing with an elite pass-first point guard like Rajon Rondo could elevate his production back to what it was last season and the year prior.  This year, playing with Goran Dragic, Gortat’s scoring has dipped by four points per game and his field goal percentage has plummeted from 55 percent last season to 51 percent this year.

The best part is that the C’s aren’t even mostly in need of Gortat’s scoring, though it would help.  His shot blocking presence and rebounding is what would help the most.  Gortat is blocking a career high three shots per game this season (nearly double what it was last year), and though the sample size is small, if Gortat could consistently just block two shots per game, it would make the C’s that much tougher against teams that have premier big men.

What could the C’s send to Phoenix in exchange for Gortat?  That’s the problem.  The Celtics don’t have many contracts that would align with Marcin Gortat’s, never mind the fact that Paul Pierce likely doesn’t interest the Suns, anyway.  To part with Gortat, it would likely require giving up Jared Sullinger.  But it would also be worth it.

Celtics GM Danny Ainge has long been lauded for his creativity in working with the salary cap and where there is a will there is a way.  Maybe that is an oversimplification, because if they can’t hammer out a deal that works with the league’s CBA, it simply can’t happen.

But Gortat apparently wants out of Phoenix, and Boston is interested.

Expect to see Danny Ainge push all in on this one.