With the draft now frustratingly in the rearview mirror, it's time to focus on free agency. Step 1, as we've all expected, is to put on a full-court press to keep Marcin Gortat. A large Wizards group, featuring
general manager Ernie Grunfeld coach Randy Wittman and several other front-office executives, traveled in Poland to make their pitch before other teams can do the same on July 1, according to CSN Washington's J Michael.
Now that the NBA draft is over, the full-court press is on to convince Marcin Gortat to remain with the Wizards, who are sending a contingent to Poland before the free-agent negotiation period opens July 1, CSNwashington.com has confirmed with multiple persons with knowledge of the situation.
Coach Randy Wittman and Tommy Sheppard, senior vice president of basketball operations, are leaving Friday to visit Gortat who has been coordinating basketball camps across his homeland.
Gortat's market could be drying up, since his potential top suitor, the Dallas Mavericks, traded for Tyson Chandler. Nevertheless, the Wizards sneaking a visit in before the moratorium makes sense. You might as well take advantage of your exclusive window to talk to him before other teams make their pitch. We'll see what kind of contract results.
Trevor Ariza is also free, and from the sounds of it, he too is a big priority.
(Is there no 1B? This is an important question).
Again: meeting with both players before the moratorium begins is not necessarily a sign that deals will get done quickly. If the Wizards want to preserve any chance of keeping both, it's a good idea to get in their ear while they can before other teams do. It's not like they can meet with Greg Monroe right now anyway.
That said, my position on both is clear: try to keep Gortat affordably, don't be afraid to let Ariza walk if he gets too expensive and consider other options before making these new deals final.
Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to note that Wittman, and not general manager Ernie Grunfeld, went to Poland to meet with Gortat.