The Suns' predicament
Before the season started, ESPN's own John Hollinger pegged Phoenix to finish No. 15 in the Western Conference in 2012-13. That's dead last to you and me.
So it doesn't take a team of experts to tell you that this Suns' team simply don't have the look of a contender. Thus, we have to believe the Suns' brass might have to decide whether dealing Gortat, whose value is at an all-time high, could be the only way this team improves.
It's not that simple, though. Gortat is one of the team's best players, he plays a premium position, and he's one of the league's best bargains -- owed $7,258,960 this season and $7,727,280 in 2013-14.
The Suns certainly don't have to trade him, but if they keep him they'll have to do so with the idea that they'll be able to re-sign him to a long-term deal, however expensive it might be. Keep in mind what Roy Hibbert (four-years, $58 million) and JaVale McGee (four-years, $44 million) signed for as restricted free agents this past offseason.
That said, here are five possible trade partners with Phoenix for Gortat:
Milwaukee Bucks | Gortat and Kendall Marshall for Tobias Harris, John Henson and Drew Gooden
Center is the one glaring weakness for Scott Skiles' team, which is why Gortat would make a lot of sense in Milwaukee. He'd provide an immediate upgrade over Samuel Dalembert, Larry Sanders and Joel Przybilla and relieve some pressure off of Ersan Ilyasova in the frontcourt as well.
Phoenix already has Luis Scola and Michael Beasley signed for the next three seasons, so there isn't a huge need for more forwards on the roster, but the opportunity to added a pair of talented young players like Tobias Harris and John Henson would be too much to pass up, even if it means taking on Drew Gooden's salary through 2014-15.