After getting traded to the Wizards, it appears Drew Gooden‘s career in Washington is over before it even began. On his eighth team in eight seasons, League sources have told SI.com that he is in the process of negotiating a buyout and not interested in playing for the Wizards. While an NBA source says that if bought out, Gooden will wait the league-mandated 30 days and return to the Mavs, here are five teams that should make a play and use Gooden right now.
1. Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have been trying to sign a big ever since Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla went down. Yesterday, they helped fill that void with Marcus Camby, but could still use another experienced body as they look to make a playoff push. No matter how great they’ve been, there’s only so much that 90-year-old Juwan Howard and rookie Jeff Pendergraph can do. That’s why signing Gooden for cheap would be a great move.
2. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets, whether they admitted it or not, would have loved to see Camby return to Denver. But with the Blazers adding Camby first, the Nuggets can’t afford to do nothing. Currently, they sit six games behind the Lakers for first place in the Western Conference. If they want to seriously make a title push this season, adding Gooden to the bench would be a great step in that direction.
3. Toronto Raptors
I’m sorry Raptors fans, but your front court is kind of thin. Behind Chris Bosh‘s 11.4 rebounds per game, their next highest guy is Andrea Bargnani at 6.2. In the thick of the playoff chase in the Eastern Conference, adding Gooden could only help their chances as they face the front lines of Cleveland, Orlando and Boston. At the very least, he brings a toughness that they lack.
4. Phoenix Suns
If the Suns lose Amar’e Stoudemire, they’re going to only have Robin Lopez and Louis Amundson down low – and neither of them average more than five rebounds per game. So if they have any hope of making it out of the first round, adding Gooden’s experience and rebounding should be a top priority for Phoenix id he becomes available.
5. Dallas Mavericks
Even though Gooden has said he would sit out the 30 days and return to the Mavs, Dallas needs to make sure that he’ll still be around. With Erick Dampier hurt, and Brendan Haywood no lock to stay healthy, Gooden would be vital for Dallas to make any sort of playoff noise.
What do you think? If Gooden leaves the Wizards, where should he sign?
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