Quality backup big men are hard to find. Sure, there are plenty of big stiffs around who will happily soak up salary and a few minutes here and there, giving you a big body for practice and the odd rebound. Bit guys who can actually contribute, much harder to come by.
Martin Gortat can contribute. Which is why the Magic paid to keep him as a backup to Dwight Howard. But at his exit interview, Magic officials told Gortat he could be traded this summer, something he passed on to the Orlando Sentinel.
“Stan Van Gundy and Otis Smith told me that when they have chance to get big star, they won’t hesitate and will add me to this trade. But teams don’t get players to just put them on the bench. (On) another team, there won’t be second Dwight Howard and I will have twice bigger chance to play. It could be step forward for me.”
Gortat was asked if he wants to stay with the Magic or have an opportunity for more playing time elsewhere.
“I was thinking about this many times. It’s good to be on a team which plays almost to the end of the playoffs, even if you play only 8-10 minutes. But on the other hand I would like to play for a team when I’ll have chance to fight for starting 5 and for example, score 20 points, (which) is one of my dreams. So it’s hard dilemma.”
This summer Gortat will get plenty of court time playing for the Polish national team. No Dwight Howards from Poland to soak up the minutes in front of him.
Playing for the national team gets Gortat a chance to develop and show off some other parts of his game — like a midrange jumper. Something the Magic could use in a four. So consider this summer his audition to get some burn at the four along side Howard, just not waiting for him to need a blow.
Or, consider it an audition for other teams. Either way.