Updates from Thursday, July 10
Monumental Network's Staff provides a statement from Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld discussing the official re-signing of Marcin Gortat:
Re-signing Marcin was a top priority for us this summer so that we could maintain continuity and improve on what we accomplished last season. His scoring ability, rebounding and defensive presence are matched only by his work ethic, leadership and personality, which all combine to make him an excellent fit in what we are trying to build moving forward.
It didn't take much convincing for the Washington Wizards to re-sign unrestricted free agent Marcin Gortat, apparently. The veteran center verbally agreed to a deal on the first day of free agency, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
Gortat expressed his delight on Twitter:
Gortat's teammate John Wall initially broke the news:
TNT's David Aldridge provided additional contract details:
The 30-year-old Poland native played a key role for the Wizards this past season after being traded from the Phoenix Suns at the start of the 2013-14 campaign. Gortat started 80 regular-season games for Randy Wittman's resurgent Eastern Conference squad, averaging 13.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor, helping Washington reach the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2004-05.
The 6'11", 240-pound center was also huge in the postseason, averaging 13 points and 9.9 rebounds on 49.2 percent shooting from the field in 11 playoff games.
The Wizards bowed out in six games against the Indiana Pacers, but they clearly took a major step forward with the help of Gortat, as WUSA 9 sports anchor Kristen Berset noted:
Following the Wizards' playoff exit, Gortat talked about what it would take for him to re-sign with the team in the summer, per CSNWashington.com Wizards Insider J. Michael:
There’s a few different priorities I’m going to look at. What’s the goal of the team...the point guard, my role on the team. It’s really important. I don’t want to be just a rim runner and rebounder and trying to set screens and stuff like that. I don’t want to be the decoy. I want to be the guy who can get the ball and create stuff for other guys. I do believe I can do that.
Although Gortat is likely to continue to fly under the radar, he's a double-double machine who clearly gives Washington an advantage around the rim. Beyond relying upon his strength and soft shooting touch, Gortat thrives in pick-and-roll situations where his footwork and touch around the rim make him a consistent threat.
If he can continue to build on the momentum of 2013-14 and stay healthy, Gortat has the tools and experience to develop into one of the league's premier centers next season. If his 31-point, 16-rebound effort in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Indiana is any indication, Gortat is primed for another stellar season in 2014-15.
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