This week, as he prepares for his fifth season with the Washington Wizards, Marcin Gortat is participating in the team's informal summer mini-camp. In previous summers he has been busy back home in Poland with family and other obligations.
This year, Gortat has joined the team in Los Angeles and as a surprise. Despite knowing he had missed the camp for years, Gortat's teammates included him on a group text, one that has sent the Wizards big man messages at odd hours of the night due to the time zone difference in Poland.
"Please, take me out of that group text. You guys are literally waking me up," Gortat said he texted back, knowing he would ultimately show up unnannounced.
Gortat attending the camp for a change is partly a matter of his schedule being open, unlike in years past. But it is an interesting display of commitment given the uncertainty about his future just months ago. Gortat expressed doubt about whether he would be with the Wizards at the end of the summer, or if a trade would be the best course of action, during his exit interview with the media after the Wizards' playoff loss in May.
[RELATED: GRUNFELD SEES GORTAT AS BIG PART OF FUTURE]
Gortat joined the Wizards Tipoff podcast this week for a lengthy interview with CSN's Chris Miller.
Here is how Gortat explained his situation on the podcast:
"First of all, I knew it right away that I would be coming back. I still have a contract and at the end of the day, I’m a Wizards player. I still have two fully guaranteed years. When I went for the exit interview, I was just preparing myself for the worst. You’ve gotta be ready in this business. You’ve gotta be ready that one day you might get a phone call saying that ‘hey, I appreciate everything that you did, but we’re going to go in a different direction and trade you.’ I’ve been traded twice in my life. I know how it is. So, at the exit interview I just said I was going to talk to my agent and whatever is going to happen. That doesn’t mean I wanted to be traded. It doesn’t mean that I’m leaving or that I don’t want to play for the Washington Wizards. It’s just that my situation with the team had completely changed. It’s not a secret that the first 40 to 50 games I was playing heavy minutes and then it completely dropped. I didn’t have the same amount of touches that I had the previous two or three years.
"But listen, at the end of the day, if the team is winning then I’m fine with that. It’s all about winning and taking a step forward, going to the playoffs and hopefully reaching the conference finals and hopefully one day the NBA Finals. But it was just a tough situation for me certain weeks and certain months. In the playoffs, I had games where I was able to perform at the highest level and then the next game I was completely out of the game. So, it was tough. But like I said before, just because I said that in the exit interview stuff like that, doesn’t mean I don’t want to be on the team. I was just preparing myself that I might be traded. At the end of the day, I know I’m not the youngest one."
You can listen to Gortat's full podcast interview right here:
You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!
[RELATED: KEEF AND DOLPH, A WIZARDS ODD COUPLE]