Marcin Gortat

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Holmes, Cousins, Gortat

The Sunsbuyout with Tyson Chandler would have helped the team much more if it had occurred during the preseason, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. The parties have reportedly had a standing deal on a buyout in place for some time, but Chandler was reluctant to commit until he was confident that another organization would pick him up. The consensus is the Lakers will be his next team.

The money saved through Chandler’s buyout could have benefited the Suns in a number of ways, Nahmad notes. De’Anthony Melton, a second-round pick acquired in a trade with the Rockets, was limited to a two-year, minimum-salary deal because Phoenix didn’t have money available for a three- or four-year offer (Twitter link). Nahmad is assuming Chandler will give back about $452K in his buyout, and notes that the Suns waited until just before the start of training camp to sign Melton in the hopes that they could free up more cash.

Unloading Chandler earlier would have also opened a roster spot and would have eliminated the need to waive Davon Reed when Jamal Crawford was signed (Twitter link). Reed, who is now on a two-way deal with the Pacers, is still owed his entire $1.4MM salary from the Suns.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The news about Chandler explains why Richaun Holmes was the Suns‘ first choice at backup center in Friday’s game, tweets Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Holmes, who was acquired from the Sixers in an offseason trade, played a season-high 13 minutes.
  • DeMarcus Cousins is expected to have a one-year stay with the Warriors, but GM Bob Myers isn’t giving up on the idea of extending their arrangement, relays Chelsea Howard of The Sporting News. During a recent appearance on the team’s pre-game show, Myers said “options are open” when it comes to keeping the All-Star center. “These type of predictions — good or bad — are pretty fruitless because you just don’t know,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to be going on on July 1, 2019. You don’t know if it’s going to be better than you think … but it’s not going to be what you think. So, with a guy like DeMarcus, who knows? If he wants to come back, let’s bring him back.” If Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both re-sign, Golden State would be well above the cap and would be limited to offering Cousins its mid-level exception again.
  • Clippers center Marcin Gortat re-tweeted a message bemoaning the end of his consecutive games streak. L.A. traded for Gortat in June to help offset the expected loss of DeAndre Jordan, but he has averaged just 3.6 PPG and 3.9 RPG and is losing minutes to Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic.

And-Ones: Georges-Hunt, Robinson, Gortat, Gordon

The first domino of the NBA offseason fell tonight with the Clippers sending Austin Rivers to the Wizards for Marcin Gortat. As we wait to see what other moves the offseason brings, let’s take a look at some news and notes from around the league:

  • The Wolves will not tender Marcus Georges-Hunt a qualifying offer, Michael Scotto of The Atlantic tweets. Georges-Hunt, who played in 42 games for Minnesota last season, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Glenn Robinson, who will hit the unrestricted free agent market, has changed representatives, leaving CAA and signing with a group of independent agents. He’ll be represented by the team of Jelani Floyd, Daniel Poneman, Mike Naiditch, and E.J. Kusnyer, according to Kevin O’ Connor of the Ringer (Twitter link).
  • NBA.com’s David Aldridge isn’t surprised that the Wizards dealt Gortat, tweeting that Gortat and Wall were “oil and water.” The scribe adds that Washington is now in need of a big man and he speculates that Nerlens Noel could be a fit in D.C.
  • The Kings like Aaron Gordon, but view him as a power forward, the same position as Marvin Bagley, their top selection in this year’s draft, James Ham of NBC Sports writes. Ham adds that it’s unlikely Sacramento chases the 22-year-old.

Clippers, Wizards Swap Austin Rivers, Marcin Gortat

10:29pm: Both teams have now officially announced the trade.

6:29pm: The Clippers are trading guard Austin Rivers to the Wizards in exchange for center Marcin Gortat, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, making it perhaps even more likely that center DeAndre Jordan is on his way out of L.A.

It was reported earlier today that Jordan, who has yet to decide on his 2018/19  player option, is considering exercising his option in order to facilitate a trade to another team, a la former teammate Chris Paul last season. While nothing has been reported officially, it seems odd that the Clippers would trade for Gortat if they have any expectation of keeping Jordan in Los Angeles.

After drafting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson in the lottery last week, Rivers appears to be a casualty of the Clippers’ guard heavy roster moving forward, especially given his price tag of $12.65MM, which is approximately twice the amount that the Clippers will pay their two rookies combined.

Meanwhile, it had already been reported that the Wizards were hoping to move on from Gortat. The Wizards needed a proven reserve guard to give John Wall and Bradley Beal some backup and, as detailed by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, to move on from Gortat from a locker room standpoint. As was highly publicized, Gortat and Wall had an inconsistent relationship, culminating in a public social media spat last season.

The Wizards now figure to enter the free agent period this weekend in search of a center. Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith are currently under contract for next season.

From a salary cap perspective, the salaries of Rivers and Gortat match nicely, with Gortat scheduled to make $13,565,218 next season, only $915,218 more than Rivers. Assuming the swap is made official before the new league year begins on Sunday, the Wizards will create a trade exception worth $957,609, the difference between the two players’ 2017/18 salaries.

The Wizards will also save about $1.4MM in luxury tax penalties by taking on Rivers’ salary in exchange for Gortat’s, as noted by ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Both Rivers and Gortat are in the final year of contracts, and will become unrestricted free agents next summer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Wizards Looking To Trade Marcin Gortat

The Wizards are working to deal center Marcin Gortat, but are refusing to part with the No. 15 pick to make it happen, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Teams to watch tonight, according to Stein, are the Mavericks, who have the cap space to take on Gortat, and the Trail Blazers, who have a trade exception that will cover his $13.57MM contract for next season (Twitter link). Stein adds that many more clubs will have the cap space to fit Gortat if a verbal agreement is reached on a deal that won’t be finalized until July.

It’s not the first time Gortat’s name has come up on the trade market, as Washington tried to work out a deal at the February deadline. Gortat has expressed dissatisfaction with his role in the past, and a mini-controversy emerged this winter when Gortat tweeted about a great “team” victory while star guard John Wall was sidelined after knee surgery.

A source close to Gortat told Ben Mehic of The Step Back there’s “a good chance” the center will be traded soon (Twitter link), adding that both sides believe it’s time for “an amicable divorce.” The Mavericks signed Gortat to an offer sheet in 2009 and may still have some interest, Mehic notes (Twitter link).

Gortat has been a steady part of the Wizards’ foundation for the past five years, missing just eight games since arriving in Washington in 2013. He played all 82 games this season, averaging 8.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per night.

Draft Rumors: Nuggets, Trades, Cavs, Wizards

The Kings (No. 2), Hawks (No. 3), and Grizzlies (No. 4) all consider to explore the possibility of trading down in the draft, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on Monday night on the network’s Mock Draft Special (Twitter link via Sagar Trika). According to Wojnarowski, the Clippers are one team looking to move up and so are the Nuggets, who would love to get into the top five or six (Twitter link via Trika).

Although we hear whispers about possible trades in the lottery every year, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) gets the sense that this year could be a little different. According to Mannix, there’s a “growing sense” among many team executives that there could be some major deals completed early in the draft.

Here are several more draft-related rumors worth relaying, with 2018’s big night just two days away:

  • Wojnarowski passed along a few more draft tidbits during ESPN’s Mock Draft Special, per Trika (all Twitter links). According to Woj, the Magic are high on both Trae Young and Collin Sexton, there’s strong mutual interest between Mikal Bridges and the Sixers, and the Warriors will be looking to buy a second-round pick in the 30s.
  • Multiple sources, including NBA execs, agents, and scouts, believe that the Cavaliers will select Michael Porter Jr. if he’s on the board at No. 8, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. However, the odds of Porter still being available at that point seem to be dwindling.
  • The Wizards are letting teams know that they’re open to trading down from No. 15 if a team is willing to take on one of Washington’s expiring contracts, a league source tells Ben Standig of The Sports Capitol. Marcin Gortat ($13.57MM) and Jason Smith ($5.45MM) look like a couple of the club’s prime trade candidates.
  • Jake Fischer and Jeremy Woo of SI.com spoke to 10 anonymous scouts around the NBA to get their thoughts on Luka Doncic, Trae Young, the Cavaliers‘ pick, and several more draft-related topics.

John Wall Displeased With Wizards’ Roster?

Fresh off a loss to the Raptors in Game 6 of the First Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, Wizards’ point guard John Wall spoke at length on Saturday about changes he’d like to see to the Wizards’ roster next season, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. When asked what type of players should be added to the roster, Wall pulled no punches, yet was quick to assure that his postseason evaluation was not directed at any particular teammates.

“There’s a lot that we can use. I really don’t have to say certain positions. There are certain things that people who have been around the team understand what we could use to help our team. It’s not throwing shade to anybody that is on our team because everyone that is on our roster gave everything they have to make it work and fit with the team, but at the same time, when it’s not working and then you try and you try and you try and it keeps failing over and over, then you have to make certain adjustments and certain changes.”

Wall further elaborated, telling reporters he is in support of the Wizards bringing in an “athletic big”, which could of course be interpreted as a slight at Marcin Gortat, who clashed with Wall when Wall was injured earlier this season, and little-used big man Ian Mahinmi who, in hindsight, was grossly overpaid in the spend-happy summer of 2016. Combined, Gortat and Mahinmi will make just north of $29.5MM next season.

Unfortunately for the Wizards, adding worthwhile free agents this offseason, per Wall’s imploring, will be no easy task. Washington already has nearly $116MM tied up in guaranteed contracts for 2018/19, not counting player options for Jason Smith and Jodie Meeks. Should both players opt in, the Wizards payroll would reach $124.8MM – $1.8MM more than next year’s projected luxury tax threshold of $123MM and nearing the apron – before free agency even begins.

Given that the $124.8MM figure only includes 10 players, the Wizards best tool will likely be their taxpayer mid-level exception, which is projected to be about $3.3MM less than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception and limited to three seasons rather than four. Players looking to cash in on a MLE deal this offseason stand to make about an additional $19.2MM over the life of a non-taxpayer MLE contract, thereby lessening the Wizards’ chances of luring meaning free agents to the nation’s capital this summer. For his part, Wall thinks players should nevertheless entertain the idea of coming to Washington.

“I think those guys that are watching and seeing understand what they can add and what we might need to make our team better to finally get over the second round or get through the first round like we didn’t this year.”

Wizards Notes: Gortat, Porter, Oubre, Meeks, More

Bradley Beal and John Wall expressed a belief near the start of the 2017/18 season that the Wizards were the team to beat in the East, but the club ultimately finished eighth in the conference, and lasted just six games in the postseason. After their early exit from the playoffs, the Wizards are left searching for answers about what went wrong over the course of the season, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington details. Hughes spoke to Beal, Markieff Morris, and Ian Mahinmi about the club’s shortcomings, with Mahinmi noting that roster continuity didn’t really pay off for Washington in ’17/18.

“When you’re talking about continuity, it’s supposed to be better. You expect better. I feel like we didn’t do better than last year,” Mahinmi said. “It’s hard. I love those guys, but we have our issues. Unless we work those issues out, we’re gonna continue to struggle at times. We’re gonna continue to not be consistent. We definitely have to have good communication this summer. Before looking elsewhere we have look at each other and be honest.

“I feel like we might not have identified the real issues,” Mahinmi added.

As the Wizards look to identify their “real issues,” here are a few more notes out of D.C….

  • Wizards center Marcin Gortat, never shy about sharing what’s on his mind, implored teammates Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre Jr. to spend the offseason bulking up, per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “Skill-set wise, [Porter]’s unbelievable. He’s got everything. He can rebound. He can shoot the ball. He can post up. He can pass. He can definitely defend, if he’s healthy,” Gortat said. “As I told him and I told Kelly, they’ve both got to improve in the weight room. They’ve got to get into the weight room.”
  • Asked if he’d work on improving his shooting range in the offseason, Gortat dismissed the idea that he needs to modernize his game by shooting three-pointers, as Buckner relays. “I truly believe I’m a solid, good shooter up to 15, 17 feet. But I’m not going to shoot threes,” Gortat said. “No, I’m not going to do that. I want to go into the paint. Body people. Be physical. Get scratches. Bleed. That’s how I made a living in for 11 years, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to pop on the three-point line and shoot threes. I’m not going to do that. I’ve got one more year left. I’m going to try to play as best as I can.”
  • The Wizards’ front office will have its work cut out for it this offseason as it looks to improve the roster, ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes in an Insider-only piece. Marks wonders if Washington has enough confidence in Oubre to consider the possibility of trading Porter, and notes that Gortat and Morris will be entering the last year of their respective contracts.
  • In a pair of tweets, Marks breaks down how Jodie Meekssuspension will affect his earnings and the Wizards’ tax bill. As Marks observes, Washington will be on the hook for approximately $7MM in tax payments for 2017/18.
  • Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com takes a closer look at Ty Lawson‘s unexpected return to an NBA rotation role for the playoffs. Lawson spent the season in China before signing with the Wizards on the last day of the NBA regular season.

Wizards Notes: Durant, Wall, Gortat, Morris

The Wizards are still suffering the consequences of their decision to chase Kevin Durant when he was a free agent in 2016, writes Ashish Mathur of AmicoHoops. Washington elected to pass on a talented 2015 free agency market that included Al Horford, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, Paul Millsap and Khris Middleton because the team wanted to preserve cap room for a run at Durant.

The Wizards went a couple of steps further, hiring Durant’s former Oklahoma City coach, Scott Brooks, and bringing on David Adkins, part of the coaching staff on Durant’s high school team, as a player development assistant. Despite those moves, Durant, who grew up near Washington, never gave serious consideration to returning home and didn’t even meet with the Wizards.

There’s more Wizards news from today’s exit interviews:

  • John Wall indicated that the front office needs to shake up the roster this summer, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. Wall, who clashed with center Marcin Gortat over social media comments earlier this season, said the team needs to find “athletic bigs” for next year. “We added some pieces to help us out at times … but at the same time front office people need to figure out what really fits with the team,” Wall added (Twitter link).
  • Gortat, who is entering the final year of his contract, remains confident that he has “a lot in the tank.” (Twitter link). He said he hopes to get back to a more physical style next season and criticized small-ball lineups, which he called the “worst thing” in the NBA.
  • Markieff Morris told reporters he underwent minor groin surgery last summer in addition to the sports hernia operation that was known about (Twitter link). Morris, who missed the start of the season because of the procedures, twice said the Wizards’ problems with consistency are linked to “immaturity.”
  • Majority owner Ted Leonsis penned a thank you letter to Wizards fans on social media and praised the team for remaining competitive with Wall sidelined for half the season.

John Wall, Marcin Gortat Met Privately To Clear Air

Wizards teammates John Wall and Marcin Gortat had a private in-person meeting last week to discuss where they stood with one another and clear the air, league sources tell Chris Haynes of ESPN. The meeting came on the heels of apparent public friction between the two players.

The meeting, which was requested by both players, didn’t last long, according to Haynes. Sources tell ESPN that while Wall and Gortat aired their grievances, there’s still more work to be done before their relationship is fully repaired.

The tension between Wall and Gortat seemingly began shortly after the point guard went down with a knee injury. Following a win in which the Wizards racked up 30 assists without Wall, Marcin Gortat tweeted that it was a great “team” victory, a comment perceived by many as a passive-aggressive slight at his teammate.

According to Haynes, Wall reached out to Gortat soon after the big man published his tweet to essentially tell him that if he has a problem with Wall, he should direct it to him rather than cryptically addressing it on social media. Although Gortat insisted that he meant no offense by his comment, Wall also responded publicly during an appearance on ESPN’s Sportscenter.

“I know I’m a team player. I average almost 10 assists a game,” Wall said at the time. “I’m very prideful in finding my teammates and getting guys easy shots. Even more just shocking hearing it from [Gortat] and understand he gets the most assists from me and gets the most spoon-fed baskets ever.”

Gortat was involved in some trade rumors prior to the deadline, but ultimately stayed put, so he and Wall will have to be on the same page if the Wizards hope to make another run in the postseason this spring. According to Haynes, sources close to the Wizards suggest that this sort of altercation is natural due to the rigors of an emotional season, so it sounds like they’re not overly concerned about it. Still, the franchise may look into introducing a policy that would allow the club to fine a player for any social media posts deemed detrimental to the team, Haynes notes.

Wizards Notes: Wall, Gortat, Beal, Satoransky

While it has been overshadowed by the drama in Cleveland, there has seemed to be some uneasiness in Washington this season. After a team meeting earlier in the year, multiple Wizards players admitted that the meeting might have had a negative impact on the locker room, which is something we almost never hear.

Now, with John Wall sidelined for several weeks as he recovers from knee surgery, the star point guard appears to have felt slighted by the notion that his team might be moving the ball better without him in the lineup. Last week after a win in which the Wizards racked up 30 assists, Marcin Gortat tweeted that it was a great “team” victory. Wall addressed that comment during an appearance this week on SportsCenter, as Candace Buckner of The Washington Post details.

“I know I’m a team player. I average almost 10 assists a game,” Wall said. “I’m very prideful in finding my teammates and getting guys easy shots. Even more just shocking hearing it from him and understand he gets the most assists from me and gets the most spoon-fed baskets ever.”

As we attempt to determine how real the apparent tension in the Wizards’ locker room is, here’s more out of D.C.:

  • Responding to Wall’s appearances on SportsCenter and NBC Sports Washington – during which Wall said that “any guys [who] have a problem with me can talk to me face-to-face as a man” – Gortat insisted that neither his comment nor one made by Bradley Beal last week were intended to attack or frustrate the All-Star point guard. “I talked to him a few days ago,” Gortat said, per Buckner. “I thought we verified that. I told him that it was nothing personal and I definitely didn’t think about him when I was writing that or whatever I was saying. We never thought about attacking him and I thought we had this verified.”
  • Beal offered another defense of his his “everybody eats” comment from last week too, as Buckner details. “I keep telling everybody it’s not a shot at John,” Beal said. “I’m sure Gortat didn’t mean anything by his [tweet]. We understand — nobody is sitting here saying we’re a better team without John. That’s just nonsense. I’ll say it a thousand times if I have to. I’ll go on every media outlet if I have to to get that point across: we’re not a better team without John. I want to nip that in the bud ASAP. He’s a tremendous player. He’s our leader. We need him back but we want him to be 110% before that happens.”
  • Despite the Wizards’ impressive ball-movement numbers over the last few games, the idea that the team might be better without Wall is ridiculous, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post.
  • Tomas Satoransky‘s play in Wall’s absence may have an impact on the Wizards’ trade deadline plans, says Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Hughes’ piece was published when Satoransky was averaging 11.0 PPG and 5.8 APG in place of Wall — in the two games since, those averages have dipped to a more pedestrian 5.5 PPG and 4.5 APG.
  • On Tuesday, we learned that the Wizards have engaged in some trade talks involving Gortat. That story is right here.