The Washington Wizards’ season came to an end last night after a home loss in Game 6 against the Indiana Pacers, which means their offseason work will now begin. With that said, two of their five key starters–Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza–will be unrestricted free agents this summer, and in all likelihood, the Wizards will attempt to bring back both players next season.
Prior to this season, the Wizards had an extremely tough time attracting free agents since the losing culture formed a dark cloud over the entire organization. Now that the Wizards have two budding superstars on their roster in John Wall and Bradley Beal, the dark cloud has been lifted and attracting free agents this past offseason seemed to come a lot easier for Washington as they were able to get veteran players like Al Harrington to get on board.
Surrounding the young core with veteran players worked this season and the Wizards were able to compete in the semi-finals, something no one expected prior to the beginning of the season. Gortat was instrumental in Washington’s playoff run, and the once iffy trade that brought him to the nation’s capital seems to have panned out. Gortat has been one of the most underrated big men in the NBA, but that changed during the playoffs where he began to emerge against two of the top centers in the Eastern Conference–Joakim Noah and Roy Hibbert.
As previously mentioned, Gortat will be a free agent this summer and though he’ll certainly be targeted by multiple teams, he seems to have an interest in coming back to Washington and expressed it following last night’s defeat to Indiana.
Matter of fact I have a meeting right now with my agent. I don’t know. I would love to be here. I would love to be back here on this team,” said Gortat shortly after leading the Wizards in scoring for the second straight game with 19 points.
There are a few different things I’m going to look at and definitely one the biggest things for me is a point guard. Obviously John is a tremendous talent. He’s definitely going to get better next year. That’s going to be one thing I’m going to look at.
Gortat also added that “we’re” going to be a much better team next season when talking about Washington’s future, so it’s no secret that he’d like to come back. I found it interesting that he pointed out his need for a good point guard, but went out of his way to call John Wall a “tremendous talent”, just as he’s done throughout the entire season.
Washington could potentially let both Gortat and Ariza walk this offseason in order to pursue a “marquee” free agent, but if all the reports are true, Ernie Grunfeld will look to retain both players.
Of course, fans will be split on this topic since it won’t necessarily increase Washington’s ceiling for next season and they will depend on their young backcourt for much of their success, but if it were up to me, bringing Gortat back would be a top priority.