PHOENIX — In the days leading up to the draft, there were rumors that the Suns might be looking to trade Marcin Gortat should one of the big man prospects fall into their lap with the number five pick.
The Suns got their man by drafting the 7’1″ Alex Len, but it appears that at least for now, that doesn’t mean that Gortat is assured a ticket out of town.
“We’re not looking to move him,” Suns general manager Ryan McDonough told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Friday. “As you guys I’m sure know, Alex had foot surgery, and he’s not ready to play.
“Marcin is one of our best players here. He’s a core guy for us. He is one of the more athletic bigs in the league, he screens, he rolls, he finishes and he blocks shots.”
In the short-term, however, the Suns GM was a little bit more clear on Gortat’s role with the team.
“We’re going into the year with him as our starting center.”
Len is expected to be recovered from his stress fracture by training camp, so health shouldn’t at all be an issue. Plus, Len could benefit by playing alongside Gortat and learning some tricks of the trade, while getting the chance to play a more low-key backup role with Gortat in the starting lineup.
New Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, speaking to reporters after the team drafted Len on Thursday, discussed the future as though Gortat would remain a part of it.
“Obviously when you want to be a fast-breaking team, the best way to get out on the break is to play good defense, block some shots, get steals, and take off with it,” Hornacek said. “Who knows how the season starts, but we feel we have a pretty good one-two combination with [Len and Marcin Gortat] in there to really grow and develop. We always talk about rebuilding, however we have some very good players on this team. Sometimes when you add a piece or two, all of a sudden that could change a little bit.”
Things could change, of course. But for now it appears that Gortat will remain a part of the Suns roster, at least until Len proves he’s capable of stepping into the starting lineup to take his place.