- Associated Press - Friday, October 25, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) - Adding a front-court piece in hopes of finally returning to the playoffs, the Washington Wizards agreed to acquire center Marcin Gortat from the Phoenix Suns in a multiplayer trade Friday, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

Speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been formally announced, the person said Phoenix will get injured center Emeka Okafor and a conditional first-round draft pick in 2014, while also sending guards Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown and Malcolm Lee to Washington so the deal will work financially.

The Wizards are expected to waive that trio of players.

The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Gortat averaged 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds last season. He is entering his eighth NBA season, and has averaged 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds while playing for Orlando, Toronto and Phoenix.

Okafor has been sidelined indefinitely by a herniated disk in his neck. He arrived in Washington before last season in a trade from New Orleans.

With a young, dynamic pair of guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal, along with rookie small forward Otto Porter, the Wizards were in need of front-court court help as they try to reach the postseason for the first time since 2007-08.

Washington went 29-53 last season, missing out on the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. Since their last trip to the postseason _ in 2007-08, when Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler were still on the roster _ the Wizards haven’t even won 30 games in a season once. They had a low of 19 wins in 2008-09.

But they’ve overturned the roster in recent years, rebuilding around Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, who recently signed an $80 million extension. Beal and Porter both were the No. 3 overall pick.

The Suns, meanwhile, are embarking on a similar project with an eye to the future, and Friday’s trade is the latest in a flurry of moves by new general manager Ryan McDonough, formerly Danny Ainge’s top aide with the Boston Celtics.

Marshall was the 13th overall choice in the 2012 draft, but the Suns had a glut of guards, including Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.

___

AP Sports Writer Robert Baum in Phoenix contributed to this report.


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