This week's episode of 'Wizards Greatest Hits' featured general manager Tommy Sheppard and former Wizards big man Marcin Gortat as guests, as they told stories to NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller while watching Game 5 of the 2014 playoff series between the Wizards and Bulls.
Sheppard was in the front office at the time and Gortat was in his prime as a screen-setting, glass-cleaning center. But before that decisive game was made possible, the Wizards had to execute a trade to acquire Gortat the summer before.
Sheppard told the story to begin Thursday night's show and it happened to include some unique circumstances. This wasn't your run-of-the-mill GM calls another GM type of NBA trade.
"I was in Slovenia for the European Championships. That summer, Phoenix had a front office change. Phoenix was actually at the same site. I was there to watch the Czechs. We had Jan Vesely, we had Tomas Satoransky's draft rights. So, I was there spending time with those two players. Phoenix sent their front office and Jeff Hornacek and Ryan McDonough came out to see Marcin Gortat," Sheppard recalled.
"In conversations with their front office, I kind of found out they wanted to reset their roster. What's nice about FIBA events is that teams usually all stay at the same hotel. I was in the food room and Marcin was sitting there. I got a chance to sit down and have some breakfast with him. After breakfast, I called back to D.C. and said 'I really think we should go for this kid, I think he's perfect for what we need.' It was very convenient their front office was there at the same place. So, at lunch I mentioned to their GM that we had great interest in Marcin Gortat. It worked out. They wanted to acquire picks, so we traded Emeka Okafor and a protected first-round pick to them."
So, basically a continental breakfast spread was the negotiating table for the Wizards to trade for Gortat. It was an unorthodox process, but it worked out well for the Wizards.
Sheppard had some high praise for Gortat's time in D.C.
"That pick ended up being Tyler Ennis and we ended up with one of the best centers in Wizards history. For us, that ended up as probably one of the greatest trades we ever did," he said.
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