The Wizards were extremely pleased with last season. All along, their goal was making the playoffs, and not only did they do that, they upset the Bulls in the first round.
Washington has made no secret of its plan to duplicate that success. And by duplicate, I mean duplicate.
The Wizards want to keep practically the same roster together. They kept Andre Miller when it made some sense to waive him, and their top two free agent targets are Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza. They even flew to Poland to pitch Gortat.
John Wall actually broke the news:
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo sports is first with the contract figures:
Marc Stein of ESPN has more:
Gortat made $7,727,280 last season, so this is a substantial raise. Ariza made the same salary last season, so you can bet he’s also expecting a big pay increase. He should see how desperate the Wizards are to keep the band together, and he can leverage that. He might not get as much as Gortat – big men are always in higher demand – but Ariza can seek that range now.
This deal will carry Gortat through age 35. It’s always risky to pay someone so much at that age, but it’s even riskier for a large brutish player like Gortat. He takes (though mostly inflicts) a pounding. The deal is probably fair in the short term, but Gortat will likely hold negative value by the end of the deal due to its cost.
There’s little reason to believe the Wizards care about that far into the future, though. They want to win now, and to them, that means trying to win exactly how they did last season – with Gortat, Ariza and everyone else.
Washington has Gortat. Ariza is up next.