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Marcin Gortat says he's not looking beyond contract with Wizards and life after basketball

Marcin Gortat says he's not looking beyond contract with Wizards and life after basketball

Marcin Gortat is under contract with the Wizards through next season and as of now he's not thinking much further ahead than that. An 11-year NBA veteran, Gortat was asked this week what he plans to do when his basketball career is over, as he turns 34 next month. Gortat isn't sure yet.

"It's still too far. It's still too early to say something. It's still a year and a half before I run out of the contract. At that point, everything could change. You don't know how my life is going to go," he said.

At the rate Gortat is going, he should have options to continue playing in the NBA once his time with the Wizards is up. He is a starter on a team likely headed to the playoffs and is averaging 8.1 rebounds per game. We're only talking about a year-and-a-half from now.

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But if Gortat is to keep playing, he has personal standards to uphold.

"One thing I will tell you is that I'm not going to be the person that is going to push for another year, another year, another year just to chip in with a million or two million to my budget because my body is more important to me than another million or two million," he said.

"I have too much respect for the game to sit down there on the bench and just pretend like I'm on the team when I'm actually not. I might stay in the league, but only under the condition that I will be playing."

Gortat has shown no signs of slowing down physically. He has appeared in all 41 of the Wizards games this season after playing in all 82 last year. Though his 27.2 minutes per game are his fewest since the 2010-11 season, it's not by his choice. He prides himself in being able to stay on the court and carry a heavy workload.

Gortat said he hopes to live another 50-60 years when his playing days are done. He will have plenty of opportunities off the court either in the United States or his home country of Poland. He could join the coaching ranks, focus on business or something else. Given his stature in Poland, it would not be surprising if he entered politics.

Gortat, though, noted that his next step could be to start a family. He currently does not have kids and is not married.

"One chapter is ending at some point, another chapter starts after that," he said. "Maybe family, maybe kid one day. And then at some point, if women tell you 'hey, I need you to stay at home with the kid,' happy wife... happy life. You've gotta do that."

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Wizards' loss to Pacers marks nine in last 12 games as push for playoffs continues to suffer

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Wizards' loss to Pacers marks nine in last 12 games as push for playoffs continues to suffer

The Washington Wizards lost to the Indiana Pacers 119-112 on Saturday night. Here are five observations from the game...

1. For the Wizards to make the postseason, a goal they have maintained despite their salary-shedding trades at the deadline, it may end up requiring a modern basketball miracle.

Because they just keep on sliding, unable to stop the bleeding that began before the All-Star break and has persisted afterward. With their loss to the Pacers on Saturday night, the Wizards have dropped nine of their last 12 games. 

That leaves them at a season-worst 12 games under .500. They are in a tailspin and have two good teams awaiting them on their upcoming road trip in the Nets and Celtics. The odds it gets worse from here are good.

2. The more the Wizards trip over themselves on defense, the more their offseason priorities are becoming clear. This team needs a major overhaul defensively and should make that their focus in free agency, trades and the draft. Get someone who can protect the rim, guys who can rebound and some guards who can cover lots of ground on the perimeter.

The Wizards have no defensive identity. They lack players who are committed to closing out on three-point shots and who show toughness in traffic. Many of the trades the Wizards made this season were designed to change that, but they haven't done enough.

Not everyone is at fault. Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza still bring it on most possessions, but they can't cover up an overall lack of ability on the defensive end.

It's a problem now and it could be worse next year if the front office doesn't fix it. At some point next season, they will get John Wall back, but he will be returning from Achilles surgery. It might be very difficult for him to stay in front of NBA point guards at first. The Wizards need to build a structure that minimizes the limitations he will likely initially have.

Though it's a different situation, the Pacers could be seen as an example. They have Bojan Bogdanovic, who was a defensive liability in Washington. But on the floor with four good defenders, his shortcomings aren't as noticeable.

They have enough good defenders to play him heavy minutes, yet still rank No. 1 in points allowed and No. 2 in defensive efficiency. The Wizards should flood their roster with defense-first players and try to follow the same model this summer.

3. Speaking of Bogdanovic, the man once again made easy work of his former team. He knocked down outside shots and got by his defenders with surprising ease. The Wizards knew Bogdanovic as a shooter, not a slasher. In this game, he did both and scored 18 points on 8-for-15 from the field.

Bogdanovic has been enjoying a lot of success this season, now as the top scorer on the Pacers, who rank third in the East. Victor Oladipo went out and he stepped up to fill the void as their offensive leader.

The Wizards' decision to let him walk in free agency and re-sign Otto Porter Jr. has been second-guessed and debated. But the fact he is playing this well and they don't have either Porter or Kelly Oubre Jr. to show for it is really something. It wasn't that long ago they had all three.

4. There was a change in the Wizards' starting lineup, as Thomas Bryant was pushed to the bench and Bobby Portis took his place at center. Head coach Scott Brooks explained the move pregame as partly because they want to evaluate their new players, including Portis, and this is just a continuation of his experimenting with the rotation.

Though Portis started hot, Bryant seemed to respond better to the move. He ended up with 23 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks.

5. The Wizards were completely dominated at the power forward spot. Both Jeff Green (four points) and Jabari Parker (12 points) struggled, while Thaddeus Young (22 points) and Domantas Sabonis (13 points, 11 rebounds) of the Pacers went off.

Parker had a particularly rough night. He had five turnovers in his first 11 minutes.

Keep in mind these frontcourt problems for the Wizards came in a game Myles Turner didn't play due to injury.

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Bobby Portis replacing Thomas Bryant in starting lineup, Scott Brooks announces

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USA Today Sports Images

Bobby Portis replacing Thomas Bryant in starting lineup, Scott Brooks announces

The Wizards' starting five is gonna look a little different Saturday night. 

Bobby Portis will replace Thomas Bryant as Washington's starting center against the Pacers, head coach Scott Brooks told reporters before the game. 

Per Brooks, the Wizards want to "see what we have" in Portis, who will be a restriced free agent this summer. 

With his team having lost eight of their last 11, this tweak signals Brooks will be looking to switch it up as the Wizards' playoff hopes begin to dim. Washington sits four games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Portis, who came over from the Bulls in the Otto Porter trade, has averaged 17.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in five contests since joining the Wizards. He's been particularly lethal from beyond the arc, knocking down 50 percent of his three-point attempts.

Bryant has filled in admirably as the starting center this season with Dwight Howard dealing with a back injury. In 49 games (43 starts), he's averaged 9.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. 

For the Pacers, center Myles Turner has been officially ruled out of Saturday's game with a hip injury. 

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