Orlando Magic Rumors: Marcin Gortat wants to retire in Orlando

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Marcin Gortat
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Marcin Gortat /

Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat sees the end of his career on the horizon, and he hopes he can end it back with the Orlando Magic.

Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat has declared he wants to retire with the Orlando MagicJosh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Gortat’s comments came before the Wizards’ 125-119 victory over the Magic at Capital One Arena on Friday. Gortat had 11 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes against the team that gave him his NBA debut. He is averaging 9.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game this season.

The center expressed interest in retiring in Orlando, where he has a home.

"“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 an 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 played with the Magic from 2008-2011, averaging 3.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He was a grinder who worked from second-round pick to Summer League standout to fringe player to backup center.

Gortat made his mark during the Magic’s 2009 Finals run as the primary backup for Dwight Howard, even stepping into the starting lineup in Game Six of the first round series against the Philadelphia 76ers. He scored 11 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the series-clinching win.

Orlando traded him in December 2010 and he blossomed as a starter for the Phoenix Suns before joining the Washington Wizards.

But Gortat was clear he would have to return soon as he does not see himself remaining in the NBA beyond the end of his current contract, which expires at the end of the 2019 season.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

So is a reunion between the Magic and the Polish Hammer on the horizon?

He certainly remains a serviceable NBA player, even as he approaches 34 years old. On the offensive end, he can set strong screens — something the Magic do not currently get from Nikola Vucevic, and to a lesser extent Bismack Biyombo — while also scoring the ball effectively from close. Furthermore, he is not a complete liability on the defensive end and is a large, powerful presence in the paint.

However, like Nikola Vucevic, Gortat struggles to protect the rim. Opponents are shooting 63.3 percent against him there — although notably, this is better than both Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan.

The biggest roadblock to any return is the $13.6 million owed to Gortat in his deal’s final year. Orlando is already paying Bismack Biyombo $17 million, meaning the Magic would have more than $30 million locked up in two backup-caliber centers. The team would have to shed Vucevic’s contract first at least.

If 2019 turns out to be a disaster, then things might change. Veterans such as Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier and Elfrid Payton may be traded away in the meantime. That would leave enough cap space to absorb an aged mentor like Marcin Gortat.

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Otherwise, even with the goodwill between the two sides and Gortat’s obvious on-court talent, the deal would simply be too costly for Orlando.