Following the Wizards' 125-119 over the Orlando Magic on Friday night, Marcin Gortat cleared the air regarding comments the center made prior to the game in regards to playing with the Magic again. Prior to the Friday contest, Gortat told the Orlando Sentinel he plans to retire from the NBA following the 2018-19 season and that he would like to play with the Magic, the team he began his career with in 2007. The only way he could have both of those things is if he were traded, so speculation naturally began.
Gortat, though, insists he did not mean it in that way. What he meant was that once his contract is up with the Wizards after next season, or if he is indeed traded, he would not mind playing for the Magic. He has a home in Orlando and spends part of his offseasons there.
"I want to play in Washington," he said. "Just because I want to finish my career in a year-and-a-half doesn't mean I don't want to play in Washington. I think everything today was blown away a little too much."
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Gortat, who turns 34 next month, did admit he has let his emotions get the best of him at times this season both in interviews with the media and behind closed doors with teammates. But he says that is because he is an emotional person who has dramatic highs and lows.
When the Wizards are winning, he is a positive and likeable person to be around. When they lose or if he isn't playing well, he has a tendency to make his frustrations known.
"There was a time when I was frustrated, a time when I was disappointed in my performance and I didn't play well. The joy of the game kind of disappeared. At the end of the day, I'm feeling better now and hopefully the team is going to continue to win," he said.
Gortat holds a strong connection to Washington, D.C. and the Wizards franchise because he has spent more NBA seasons with them than anywhere else. He says that will remain true even if he ends up being traded, as it is part of the business.
Gortat has helped the Wizards make the playoffs in three of the last four years and says he wants to keep building on that success.
"Unless the team wants to trade me, at this point in my life and my career I feel good here playing with John [Wall] and Brad [Beal]," he said. "I have a year-and-a-half. I want to make a run with this team to the Finals and give 110 percent to the team. After that, I already hit the 10 years mark and have a full pension and I will be done."