The Wizards held their end of season on Tuesday after Monday’s tough loss in Boston. The most notable quotes came from Marcin Gortat, who expressed some serious concerns about his future in Washington, as documented by Ava Wallace of the Washington Post:
I take a lot of pride in what I do, and obviously this year was completely different from me than the last three years. With the Wizards’ new system, completely different position in the team for me personally, and different role for me also. It made me who I am today, and as long as we’re winning, we’re going to playoffs and we’re winning in playoffs, then fine.
“But — I think it’s too early for me to say something. I’m just going to sit down in the summer and talk to my agent, talk to my people and I’m going to analyze if this is the right fit. Winning is the most important, at the end of the day. But right now, I had an average, maybe good, season. The team had a great season, we went to the second round, I think everybody would like to take that result around the NBA.
I know how this business works. I’m the oldest guy on the team, they signed Ian, also, he’s younger than me, he got a longer contract. I just know how the business works, so I’m prepared for everything, just in case.
Gortat brings up fair points. Did he sacrifice this season? Absolutely. He took fewer shots per game and had to do more of the dirty work to make the shot distribution work with the rest of the team’s starters. He also had to log heavy minutes early in the season while Ian Mahinmi was hurt.
One also can’t blame Gortat for being concerned about his future with the team, given Ian Mahinmi’s long-term deal. It was the first reaction most people had when the Mahinmi signing was announced last year, and the only thing that kept it from being more of talking point during the season was Mahinmi’s inability to get on the floor.
Regardless of how you feel about Gortat as a player and how he fits with the team, it’s silly to be mad at him for feeling the way he feels. Would it have been better to air something like this out behind closed doors? Sure, but at least it gives us something to blog about besides Game 7, so we won’t complain.
If Gortat does decide to go through with a request or demand to be traded this summer, it’s going to be challenging to find a spot that works well for both him and the Wizards. Washington can’t afford to send away one of their few productive players without getting something useful in return, and it’s going to be hard to get great value for a player who just turned 33.
On the flip side, Gortat won’t want to go to a team that isn’t ready to make a deep playoff run or give him meaningful playing time. But where is that spot? Look at the top 10 teams in from each conference this season and try to find a place where Gortat fits. Even on the teams where Gortat could be an upgrade, he’d get in the way of a young center the team would probably prefer to have on the floor.
If he’s is willing to sacrifice a lot of playing time or go to a lottery team to maintain his current role, the Wizards should go ahead and make a move to recoup whatever they can get. His value is only going to go down if Washington tries to keep him in a place he doesn’t want to be.
But for the sake of both parties, let’s hope time to reflect and assess the current situation helps everyone appreciate what they have. The Wizards and Gortat both probably wish things were a little different and a little better than they are, but odds are they’ll both be in a worse position if a trade happens this summer.