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Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld sees Marcin Gortat as a 'big part' of team's future

Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld sees Marcin Gortat as a 'big part' of team's future

One day after the Wizards were eliminated in the NBA Playoffs in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics, Wizards center Marcin Gortat openly questioned his future with the organization while meeting with reporters in his final media availability of the season. He noted the signing of center Ian Mahinmi the summer before and how both his role and the league had changed. Gortat said he and his agent would speak with the team to determine his next step.

On Wednesday, Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld confirmed that a conversation has already taken place. While addressing the media on the team's final predraft workout day, he sounded committed to keeping Gortat around.

"I've talked to March. March is with us. March, we've had him for four years. He's averaged a double-double for four years. He's been in the second round for three out of those four years and is a big part of what we're doing. Everybody has frustration after a tough loss and a tough series. March is with us and he's going to be a big part of what we're doing," Grunfeld said.

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Gortat, 33, has two years left on his contract worth $26 million. He is due $12.8 million in 2017-18. He played in all 82 games this past season and averaged 10.8 points and 10.4 rebounds.

Mahinmi was signed to a four-year, $64 million contract last offseason and spent most of the 2016-17 campaign dealing with injuries. But when healthy, he rarely played with Gortat given their similar styles. Once Mahinmi returned from injury in February, Gortat's minutes were pared down.

Given the two will make close to $30 million combined next season and aren't good fits to play on the floor together, it would not be surprising if the Wizards made a move with one or the other.

[RELATED: Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wiz are thinking big with Paul George]

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Wizards will face Lakers, Clippers in Orlando's NBA exhibition schedule

Wizards will face Lakers, Clippers in Orlando's NBA exhibition schedule

Before the Wizards begin their eight-game schedule to close out the regular season on July 31, they will have three exhibition games to get warmed up in Orlando.

They will start July 22 against the Denver Nuggets and also play the Lakers and Clippers. Those are the three top seeds in the Western Conference.

Here is a look at their three-game set:

7/22: Nuggets, 3:30 pm ET
7/25: Clippers, 8 pm ET
7/27: Lakers, 3 pm ET

The question here, of course, is whether the stars will play given these games won't count. In a usual preseason, the answer would probably be 'no.' But in this case, with each team only having three games to find their rhythm before games start, and after months off, it is anyone's guess.

RELATED: NO OLADIPO FOR PACERS IN ORLANDO

It wouldn't be surprising if the Wizards did see some combination of Nikola Jokic, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The biggest question mark would be that Lakers game since it is the last exhibition game for both teams. Maybe James and/or Davis sit with two games already under their belt and an opening night meeting with the Clippers awaiting.

Either way, the Wizards will get a look at some of the NBA's best teams before they kick things off for real. And this also means they will be playing games nine days ahead of their regular season. There are now just under three weeks to go until the Wizards return to the court.

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Report: Pacers' Victor Oladipo opts out of NBA restart in Orlando

Report: Pacers' Victor Oladipo opts out of NBA restart in Orlando

Victor Oladipo has opted out of playing in the NBA's restart in Orlando, marking the biggest star yet who was expected to play backing out.

The news, which was first reported by the Athletic, is a health precaution as he aims to get 100 percent healthy for next season. He had played only 13 games this season after missing a full year due to a torn quadriceps tendon.

Oladipo, 28, is a two-time All-Star. His absence leaves the Indiana Pacers, the fifth-seed in the Eastern Conference, without their best player.

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The Wizards happen to play the Pacers as part of their new eight-game schedule to close out the regular season. Now they won't see Oladipo, who they had yet to face this season. 

Given Oladipo's recent injury history, it is not all that surprising he would make this move. But it also could open the door for other players of his stature to decide similarly.

Oladipo is a star in the league, but not on a team expected to compete for the title. Will others in a similar boat decide not to go? Wizards guard Bradley Beal, for one, is still mulling his own decision on whether to play.

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