The Wizards are giving Marcin Gortat more minutes down the stretch of late, and he prefers playing with Jared Dudley and Wizards trade acquisition Markieff Morris at power forward instead of Kris Humphries, who went out in the trade for Morris, notes J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic.
“It’s opportunities, being the guy who’s pretty much played the whole fourth quarter. I didn’t have that opportunity in the first 50 games,” Gortat said. “I’m definitely excited about playing more minutes. I think just having Markieff or Jared next to me in the starting lineup it’s a much better fit for me than Kris Humphries. Not picking on him but he just didn’t fit with me well. He’s a totally different player than Keef or Jared. I feel more comfortable playing with them.”
Gortat called Morris “a great teammate” and said the controversy surrounding him in Phoenix was overhyped, quipping that “we’re not giving him towels to throw at people,” a reference to the towel Morris tossed in former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek‘s direction in the midst of a December game, as Michael also relays. See more on the Wizards, and on Humphries, amid news from the Southeast Division:
- The Wizards are likely to allow their $2,806,750 disabled player exception expire, Michael hears, writing in a separate story. Washington couldn’t use the majority of it anyway without going over the tax line. The deadline to use it is a week from today.
- Soon-to-be restricted free agent Evan Fournier would like to re-sign with the Magic, observes Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. GM Rob Hennigan has refuted the idea that the team isn’t entirely sold on the swingman, and reports indicated the Magic were hesitant to trade him at the deadline. “I really like to play for this team. I’m having my best year so far. There’s no reason for me to leave,” Fournier said.
- The Hawks dipped into their room exception to sign Humphries to his deal for the rest of the season, giving him an even $1MM and not the prorated minimum salary as previously reported, reveals Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). That gave Humphries an even exchange on the buyout market, since he gave up $1MM to secure his release from the Suns, Pincus notes (on Twitter). Atlanta has about $900K left on its room exception in the wake of the Humphries signing.