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Hoping to strengthen their defensive presence next season, the Los Angeles Clippers sent Austin Rivers to the Washington Wizards for Marcin Gortat on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old Gortat did wonders for the Wizards last season averaging a near double-double of 8.4 points and 7.6 rebounds while making 51.8 percent of his shots in the field.
Despite his incredible play last season, numerous reports surrounding the Wizards camp say that the team has been trying to trade Gortat since last season. The Polish big man was initially involved in a tension between franchise guard John Wall.
Marcin Gortat For DeAndre Jordan
The 11-year veteran has been rumored to replace LA Clippers’s starting center DeAndre Jordan who might opt-out of his contract worth $24.1 million this Friday. Sources close to the situation say that the LA Clippers will try to move Jordan before the trade deadline. With the addition of Gortat, the LA Clippers currently have Jordan and Boban Marjanovic at the center spot.
Basketball pundits believe that moving Rivers would greatly benefit the LA Clippers in the long run. The LA Clippers backcourt is currently stacked with talented players such as Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Jerome Robinson. Earlier in 2015, the team traded a second-round pick in exchange for Rivers.
Loaded Backcourt For Wizards
Rivers, who is coming off a career-year averaging 15.1 points, 4.0 assists, and 1.2 steals per game will likely play a backup role with the Wizards. The 25-year-old court general who is in the final year of his contract also had decent shooting percentages last season, making 42.4 percent of his shots from the field and 37.8 percent from the three-point country. Prior to being traded to the Wizards, Rivers opted into the final year of his contract worth $12.65 million
Ernie Grunfield, Wizards president, believes that the addition of Rivers would provide the team with more depth when it comes to scoring and playmaking. The Wizards will need any help they can get from anyone next season as the team wound up 16th in bench scoring last year with 35.6 points per game average.
“He is coming off a career year and his ability to create offense for himself and others will help our second unit and allow us to play a variety of lineups throughout the season,” Grunfield said.
With the trade of Gortat, the Wizards now only Ian Mahinmi playing the center. However, the Wizards are expected to make a run at Dwight Howard. The Brooklyn Nets are currently negotiating a buyout with Howard that makes him a free agent this year.
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