The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Marcin Gortat says 'love' he felt from Wizards biggest factor in him deciding to re-sign

  • Print

ORLANDO, Fla. - Feeling appreciated goes a long way with Marcin Gortat.

It helped him make his time on the free agent market this summer short and sweet.

Though one of the most coveted big men available, he barely spent a day mulling offers before he agreed to sign a five-year, $60 million deal on July 1 to remain with the Washington Wizards. The biggest reason was the team showed him the most "love."

Now, while some free agents around the league are still figuring out the best place for them to play, the 30-year-old Polish centre said he's relishing getting to spend this week watching Orlando Pro Summer League games before he officially can sign his new contract Thursday.

"For the whole free agency I was patient. I was actually pretty calm. I didn't really panic too much," Gortat told The Associated Press. "I knew I had a great season. I knew I had a really good result with the team being successful and I knew everything was going to be fine."

Gortat was looking forward to exploring offers from suitors around the league, but got a surprise visit in Poland from a delegation of Wizards executives and coaches that included head coach Randy Wittman just prior to the start of free agency. Officials weren't yet allowed to discuss re-signing him, but were there to assist with Gortat's basketball camp.

The gesture, though, spoke volumes.

"That was obviously huge. They showed a lot of love," Gortat said. "They showed that I'm a really important part and piece of the team when they came over to Poland and helped me out. And I was definitely excited, so it was just an easy decision for me to pick Washington."

But Gortat didn't always have confidence that things would work out this well.

He was traded from Phoenix to Washington prior to the start of this past season in a deal that sent Emeka Okafor and a first round draft pick.

It ended a three- year stint with the Suns in which Gortat arrived with lofty expectations, but wound up at times questioning his role with the team after Steve Nash was dealt to the Lakers.

But in Washington the 6-foot-11 centre found himself an important part of the Wizards' scheme. It led to his averaging 13.2 points and a team-high 9.5 rebounds last season, while starting 80 regular season games. He also became a vocal presence in a locker room that already featured all-star John Wall and Bradley Beal.

"It's great when people want you," Gortat said. "I didn't have that comfort back in Phoenix, especially in the last year when they traded me. It was kind of obvious that I was going to get traded. Being on a team where they love you and like you...then life is beautiful.

"You're putting everything else to the side."

Gortat's return also provides even more continuity for a Washington team coming off its first playoff appearance since 2008. In addition to Gortat, the Wizards have already extended Wittman and backup point guard Andre Miller. They're hoping to do the same with free agent forward Trevor Ariza.

It's all left Gortat with lofty goals for the future.

"The chemistry we have...we're going to be a pretty good team the next few years," he said. "We've shown that we have the (ability) to go to all the way conference finals. Hopefully one day, we can compete for the championship."

___

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Aerial view of Portage and Main, The Esplanade Riel, Provencher Bridge over the Red River, The Canadian Museum for Human Rights and The Forks near the Assiniboine River, October 21st, 2011. (TREVOR HAGAN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) CMHR
  • A Great Horned Owl that was caught up in some soccer nets in Shamrock Park in Southdale on November 16th was rehabilitated and returned to the the city park behind Shamrock School and released this afternoon. Sequence of the release. December 4, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google