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NBA free agent rumors: 'Early word' is Wizards want to keep both Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat

It sounds like the Wizards are going to try to retain both of their two free-agent starters unless they get too expensive.

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There's still so, so, so much time for this summer to play out, but early rumblings suggest that the Wizards will do their best to keep both Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza. That's at least according to ESPN's Marc Stein, who is as plugged in as anyone covering this league.

The early word is the Wizards will try to retain both of their top free agents as opposed to letting them go to make some sort of fantasy run at the likes of Baltimore's own Carmelo Anthony or seemingly gettable restricted free agent Greg Monroe

Yet there are legit fears that signing both might prove too expensive for the Wizards, who have to keep in the mind the sort of money Beal will command when it's his turn for an extension.

Gortat is "the priority," according to Stein, which shouldn't be a surprise. From the sounds of it, he'd like to stick around. Via CSN Washington's Ben Standig:

"I didn't think about that. Matter of fact I have a meeting right now with my agent. I don't know. I would love to be here. I would love to be back here on this team," said Gortat shortly after leading the Wizards in scoring for the second straight game with 19 points.

He continued. "There are a few different things I'm going to look at and definitely one the biggest things for me is a point guard. Obviously John is a tremendous talent. He's definitely going to get better next year. That's going to be one thing I'm going to look at."

I haven't crunched the numbers (that's for next week), but the Wizards should be able to bring both back comfortably and still have room to add another piece this year before hitting the luxury tax. Grantland's Zach Lowe previously reported that most in the league believe Gortat and Ariza will make between $15 and $20 million next year.

The larger question, of course, is whether this is the right approach. The salary-cap is rapidly rising, but keeping Gortat and Ariza would certainly limit Washington's flexibility to make the next big move. Despite this, Jason Reid of the Washington Post emphatically says yes, the Wizards need to keep both. It's a sensible argument.

I, on the other hand, would like to see the Wizards capitalize on this buzz and wedge their way into discussions with the biggest-ticket players, if only to send a message to the rest of the league that they are a serious free-agent destination. But that's a spiel for another day.