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Expect Marcin Gortat to be in Wizards uniform when 2017-18 season starts

Expect Marcin Gortat to be in Wizards uniform when 2017-18 season starts

LAS VEGAS – Among the most frequently asked questions about the Wizards this offseason – after whether or not John Wall will sign an extension – is what will happen with Marcin Gortat in the middle.

Gortat raised eyebrows after the season ended in Game 7 vs. the Boston Celtics in the conference semifinals by wondering out loud if he’s better off playing somewhere else after four seasons as the starter in Washington.

It doesn’t appear the 6-11 center who played in all 82 games in two of the last three seasons and was a double-double machine before the All-Star break is going anywhere, league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com.

First, this subject requires diagnosing where it all came from with Gortat, who’d just finished meeting with coach Scott Brooks and the Wizards’ front office for exit interviews and was pleased with what he heard.

[RELATED: Wizards slot Meeks' contract differently to avoid hard cap]

The root of his angst has been his role in the offense. At times, the Wizards established him in the low post immediately, especially when matched against undersized opponents such as Al Horford of the Boston Celtics. The post touches, however, evaporated as the season progressed. The Wizards even went away from being pick-and-roll heavy and instead used Markieff Morris or Jason Smith when they were in at the four spot. 

On the defensive end, Gortat has felt compromised. He’s often being asked by Wall to switch onto point guards in space and if he doesn’t succeed he believes he gets blamed for it.

Then there’s his backup, Ian Mahinmi, who earns about $4 million more per year and has more security entering the second year of a four-year deal. Mahinmi wasn’t in top shape entering training camp, was slowed by knee issues and missed 50 games.

But Gortat, who will be entering his 11th season, wants to see better leadership from the Wizards’ best player. The Wizards’ best player wants to see him play with more force, adapt and follow his lead. Going into his second full season with a better grip on his team's personality, Brooks will have to mediate.

[RELATED: John Wall hasn't made up mind about extension]

Though on the surface it appears that there’s trouble brewing, that’s not the case. There’s no animosity. Everyone knows Gortat wears his emotions on his sleeve and can be prone to being candid to a fault.

Gortat, who has been known to get into social media spats with trolls and curt with reporters, realizes where his bread is buttered. If he were to go elsewhere, who could set him up as well as Wall?

If he wants a bigger role in the offense in a league that’s increasingly going to small ball and using centers to stretch the floor, where can go?

Wall is the four-time All-Star and now an All-NBA player. When stars have spats with role players, who usually wins?

The stars.

Does all of this mean there’s no chance of a move being made with Gortat or Mahinmi? Of couse not, but despite not having much cap room to make significant offseason moves the Wizards will enter the season with top-four seed expectations.

[RELATED: Kings didn't extend max offer sheet to Otto Porter]

Wall has acknowledged that his conditioning has to be better to be a more effective two-way player and appease Gortat's desire to see him improve as a leader. 

Despite receiving a healthy dose of votes for All-Defense, Wall's on-ball performance was not up to par for most of 82 games. The ball kept getting inside the paint. While conditioning isn’t an issue for Gortat, he has to cover for his teammates and rotate accordingly and trust that they'll cover for him. 

Gortat will make about $12.8 million and relative to the salaries being handed out in free agency the last two years, he's on a good contract with just two years left on it. 

If the Wizards had one just one more postseason game, this topic would be a moot point. They failed for a lot of reasons. They didn't fail to make it because of Gortat, but they also won't get there until he comes to an understanding with Wall on how to get there. It's up to Brooks to get them both to see that, and that's supposed to be one of his strengths as a coach.

Better chemistry between the two coupled with Otto Porter taking his game to the next level after his $106 million max contract -- like Bradley Beal did last year when he signed his -- and on top of that a weaker East? 

There's a chance to move up so moving on isn't the answer.

[RELATED: Who is the best player in Wizards/Bullets history?]

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Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

USA Today

Source: Wizards will have competition with teams like Lakers, Clippers for restricted free agent Bobby Portis

This summer is shaping up to be lucrative for NBA free agents and big man Bobby Portis is well-positioned to cash in. After spending the final three months of the 2018-19 season with the Wizards, Portis is already seeing a healthy market develop ahead of the June 30 start of the league's negotiating period, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

The Wizards are likely to first extend a qualifying offer on June 30 to make him a restricted free agent. According to Spotrac.com, it will be about $3.6 million and that will give the Wizards the right to match an offer sheet from another franchise.

But teams are already indicating they want Portis, who is just 24 and coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in 50 games. That market includes 5-10 teams and could grow once free agency opens.

Portis is expected to draw interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz, Bucks, Magic and Knicks among others, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Despite restricted free agency, Portis has a few things working for him. For one, there are a lot of teams with cap room. Spending won't reach 2016 levels, when the new CBA spiked the salary cap, but there will a lot of money to go around.

Also, guys in Portis' tier will only be helped if the top free agent options continue to dwindle. Klay Thompson looks more likely than ever to stay in Golden State after tearing his ACL. Winning a title could increase the odds Kawhi Leonard re-signs in Toronto, according to reports. And Kevin Durant's torn Achilles has thrown a wrench into the plans of teams with the most money to spend.

There is also the possibility Kemba Walker stays in Charlotte. And Kyrie Irving signing with Brooklyn, if it happens, would leave others exploring backup plans.

Portis isn't directly competing with any of those players, but could benefit if the top options are off the market. His name will only move up the list if that is the case.

Portis also has a unique selling point going for him. He shot 39.3 percent from three this past season and held a 40.3 percent clip to close the year in his 28 games with the Wizards. Three-point shooting is more valuable than ever and he brings that to the table at 6-foot-10.

Portis, who averaged 3.8 three-point attempts per game this past season, was one of only six players 6-10 or taller to shoot at least 39 percent on 3.5 attempts or more (min. 50 G). 

The question for Portis will be whether he gets the money he wants. He turned down an extension with the Chicago Bulls last fall just hours before the deadline to sign one. According to the Chicago Tribune, the deal was worth about $50 million and he wants to be paid in the range of $16 million annually. His asking price was partly why the Bulls traded him to the Wizards in February.

Even if the Wizards clear money, and they are expected to free up some by declining Jabari Parker's $20 million team option by the June 29 deadline, Portis could price himself out of Washington. It might not even take $16 million per year for that to happen.

The Wizards are set to operate through free agency with interim team president Tommy Sheppard at the helm, as the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Sheppard making the call increases Portis' odds of staying, but that doesn't mean the price will match for both sides.


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UNC's Coby White talks Wizards workout, North Carolina and John Wall's legendary mixtape

USA TODAY Sports Images

UNC's Coby White talks Wizards workout, North Carolina and John Wall's legendary mixtape

In Tuesday's Wizards Talk podcast Chris Miller sat down with point guard Coby White, a projected lottery pick from the University of Carolina. 

On Monday, the Wizards worked out White and college teammate Nassir Little in the franchise's highest-profile workout this year. Despite being projected higher than No. 9, White was enthusiastic about the opportunity. 

"These mock drafts are cool, but it's not the real deal," explained White. "If I was to slip and Washington were to select me, I'd be in a great place."

White's passion combined with his impressive skill set enabled him to become the all-time leading scorer in North Carolina high school history. Growing up he followed John Wall, as did every hooper in North Carolina, and he still remembers Wall shredding apart defenses on his legendary high school mixtape. 

"His mixtape was lit," professed White. "The style he played with was uncomparable to anyone else."

What many people don't know about White was that growing up, his dream school was Duke. Once he got to Chapel Hill, however, Roy Williams, his teammates and UNC's winning tradition won him over in a heartbeat. 

"They didn't care how much you had coming in, Coach Williams never promised me playing time," said White. "He just promised me 'I'll be the hardest coach you ever had and I'll try my best to make you the best you can be.'"

At Thursday draft, White's life will be changed forever once he hears his name called and shakes Adam Silver's hand. For Wizards fans, hopefully, that won't happen before the No. 9 pick