As expected, the Washington Wizards moved quickly to keep free-agent center Marcin Gortat, according to the one and only John Wall and confirmed by Gortat himself. Gortat will sign him a 5-year, 60-million contract once the free agent moratorium ends, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski. The front office is now one step closer to bringing the band back together as they intended.
:)))— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) July 2, 2014
Marcin Gortat has agreed to a five year, $60 million contract extension with Washington, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2014
There are no options and the deal is fully guaranteed, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. Miami was the Wizards' primary challenger for Gortat's services, but talks never really got serious, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. The Wizards and Gortat's representatives initially haggled over the number of years, but Ernie Grunfeld relented and gave Gortat the fifth season to ensure he signed, according to Michael Lee of the Washington Post.
Gortat, who was sent over from Phoenix in exchange for the injured Emeka Okafor and Washington's 2014 draft pick in October, has seen his value skyrocket around the league as one of the rare two-way big men available this summer. He had a strong season with the Wizards, developing strong pick and roll chemistry with John Wall. The Polish Machine averaged close to 13 points and 10 rebounds in 81 games this past season and was a major cog in Washington's eighth-ranked defense. He played the game of his life against Indiana to stave off elimination at home in game 5 of the second round, turning in a monster 31 point, 16 rebound effort on 13-15 shooting. He finished 12th in the NBA in double-doubles and 13th in blocks per game during the regular season.
But his market dried up in the past week as both the Mavericks and Pelicans dealt away assets to secure their starting center. Perhaps none of it mattered. The Wizards made it clear they wanted him back and decided they couldn't afford to strip John Wall of his biggest weapon. A contingent of Wizards executives, including head coach Randy Wittman, flew to Poland where Gortat had been hosting basketball camps to make their pitch ahead of the free agency period.
Gortat and the Wizards can't officially put pen to paper until the NBA's moratorium period is lifted on July 10th, but this is as good as done.
We'll have much more coverage in the coming days. For now, register your thoughts.