It’s no secret that Marcin Gortat is on the Wizards’ trade block as he approaches the final year of his contract in Washington. Gortat even went as far as to tell a Polish outlet he believes there’s a “99 percent” chance he’s with a new team next season.
So the big question then becomes what are the Wizards willing to do to get out of paying the $13.5 million he is due next season? Earlier this week it was reported the team was willing to trade down if another team was willing to take on some of their money for 2018-19. However, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Wizards aren’t willing to trade out of the first round entirely to get off Gortat’s deal, and would prefer to not include the pick at all:
The Wizards are actively exploring their trade options with Marcin Gortat, but league sources say Washington is thus far resistant to the idea of surrendering its No. 15 overall pick tonight just to dump Gortat’s contract, which has one season left.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 21, 2018
The teams that can comfortably absorb Gortat in a trade tonight are Dallas (cap space) and Portland (trade exception) but the list obviously broadens if the Wizards were to reach a verbal agreement on a trade with a team that has the requisite cap space to absorb Gortat in July https://t.co/1YOznWIwaG— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 21, 2018
Washington's aim, sources say, is trying to construct a Marcin Gortat trade without including the No. 15 overall pick https://t.co/nseswjDY3t— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 21, 2018
Trading the best non-lottery pick in the draft to get out of one year of a deal would be absolutely silly, so it’s good to hear that appears off the table. But if the Wizards aren’t looking to use their pick as part of the trade package for Gortat, it narrows their options quite a bit.
They could still add a sweetener like Kelly Oubre Jr. or Tomas Satoransky, but that’s still problematic given Washington’s depth issues and lack of young talent. At this point one of two scenarios make the most sense for moving Gortat:
- Trade him to a team looking to get out from a bad deal or two with money beyond 2018-19. Washington doesn’t get any benefit out of someone coming off the books next year, so they might as well target players who can be useful, even if their salaries are bloated.
- They swap him for someone else on an expiring deal. Literally just move the deck chairs around and hope the Wizards can get past the internal drama from last season.
Either way, it might take a little time for things to settle out. Several of the teams that could be interested in Gortat, such as the Mavericks, won’t want to commit to a deal until they know they’re out of the running for DeMarcus Cousins. In other words, don’t be surprised if this saga stretches out for a little bit.