WASHINGTON — Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat said today he doesn’t expect his NBA career to continue after his current contract expires following the 2018-19 season, and he added he would love to end his career with the Orlando Magic.
“I would love to join the team for maybe two or three months, or maybe half a season at least,” Gortat told the Orlando Sentinel after the Wizards completed their shootaround Friday at Capital One Arena.
“I’m going to be a old guy, so I don’t know if Orlando would be interested or not. But I would love to join the team back again just to wear the uniform, put the white and blue stripes again on me and be able to say I’m a Magic again and just come back home where I belong. That would definitely be a dream come true to do that for me. Whatever the team wants to do — play me, just be in the rotation or just be a bench player — I would definitely be there for the team.”
Gortat will turn 34 years old next month, and he’s in his fifth season with the Wizards. The final year of his contract — the 2018-19 season — will pay him a salary of $13.6 million.
A starter for the Wizards, Gortat is averaging 9.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 27.3 minutes per game this season.
The Magic acquired Gortat in 2005 in a draft-night trade, and he served as a key cog in the Magic’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals, serving as Dwight Howard’s backup at center. Gortat always has credited former Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and former Magic lead assistant coach Brendan Malone for developing him into a quality player.
But stuck behind Howard on the depth chart and eager for a bigger role, Gortat was traded by the Magic to the Phoenix Suns during the 2010-11 season in a multi-player deal.
Gortat, who was born and raised in Poland, still makes his primary offseason home in Orlando.
Asked Friday how much longer he wants to play, he said he doesn’t expect to play after the 2018-19 season.
“This is a very difficult question,” Gortat answered. “The way NBA politics goes right now, I’m afraid that next year might be my last year. This is how I feel right now. Obviously, we’re going to have a summer, then another year of basketball and then I’m going to think about it. But the way I feel right now, it’s like next year might be my last year of my career.”
Asked to explain why he thinks 2018-19 likely will be his last season, he said, “I’m not saying 100 percent. I would say ‘probably.’ The way everything goes, the way the NBA goes right now and everything that’s going on, I just don’t feel like I’m going to stay in this league for much longer.”
He declined to elaborate further even after he was given opportunities to do so.
Gortat’s Wizards will face the Magic tonight at Capital One Arena.
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