Pau Gasol or not, Phoenix Suns GM knows Emeka Okafor's contract is an intriguing asset
Such is the beauty of having Emeka Okafor and his $14.5 million contract just wasting away.
Acquired as part of the trade that sent Marcin Gortat to the Washington Wizards, Okafor has yet to play a single minute for the Suns due to a herniated disk. Phoenix knew of the issue when the deal was made, because even if the 31-year-old big man is unable to help the team on the court, his contract can be real helpful off it.
After all, expiring deals of that size can help a team land a high-salary star in a trade.
But with the deal set to expire after this season and the Feb. 20 trade deadline nearing, the Suns may feel some pressure to swing a deal -- any deal -- rather than just let a prime asset waste away before it disappears.
Asked about that by the Burns and Gambo Show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday, Suns GM Ryan McDonough said that's not exactly the case.
"Certainly there's a lot of interest in Emeka's contract," he said. "It's unfortunate that it doesn't look like he's going to be able to come back and play for us this year. That would have been a good scenario as well, if we had a guy who could rebound and block shots and anchor our defense like Emeka can, especially a high-character guy like him, he would have helped us."
For his career, the former No. 2 overall pick is averaging 12.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Last season with the Wizards, he averaged 9.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 79 games.
But there was never any guarantee that he would recover in time to play this season, and now it appears it's all but assumed he will not.
"If he's unable to play then the contract is attractive because it is expiring and because there's also some insurance money returned to whatever team has it, at that point that's us, but I think there will be interest there," McDonough added. "Especially from teams trying to look to dump salary going forward.
"But we're not going to trade him just to trade him for the sake of it. It would have to be a deal that makes sense for us both in the short and long term."
Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
- Suns' Dragic credits new team mindset with success
- Former D-League coach praises work ethic of Suns' Gerald Green
- Suns center Alex Len keeping close tabs on Ukraine, honors country with special message
- Suns Strokes: Green engineers second-half comeback in thrilling win over Thunder
- Green, Suns storm past Thunder in statement victory: By the Numbers
- Goran Dragic, Suns Guard - Friday March 7Suns guard Goran Dragic joins the Burns and Gambo show
- Bill Frieder, former Arizona State basketball head coach - Friday March 7Bill Frieder discusses the state of ASU basketball, and what should the NBA do about the draft age t
- Bickley Blast - Friday March 7The Suns got a signature win, and seem determined to make the playoffs.
- Eric Musselman, ASU basketball associate head coac - Friday March 7Eric Musselman talks about his relationship with Gerald Green, his thoughts on Jahii Carson's seaso
- Tim Kempton, Suns Color Analyst - Friday March 7Will LeBron return to Cleveland?