Marcin Gortat suffered a foot injury in March that left him in the same situation as his Phoenix Suns — broken and unable to compete by the time the regular season was finished.
Gortat planned to spend the summer with the Polish national team preparing for Eurobasket, which tips off in September. He recently returned to the states to have the foot checked out as a precautionary measure, but it now appears that he’ll be good to go by the time the tournament begins.
Now the squad has been heartened by the news that their most important player, Marcin Gortat, is to join Poland on Sunday in Belgium, where they are facing Israel, the hosts andItaly in a warm-up tournament for the EuroBasket in Slovenia.
The 2.11m pivot had been with Poland in July but travelled to the United States earlier this month so doctors could examine the metatarsal injury that he suffered in March while playing for the Phoenix Suns.
The Polish federation said: “Gortat will on Sunday, 18 August, fly to Belgium where on 17-19 August the Poles will play in a tournament with Israel, the hosts and Italy.”
Plenty of internationally-born players take the responsibility of suiting up for their country extremely seriously, and Gortat is no exception. He just needed to make sure that his foot was healing properly and that he wouldn’t be exposed to a setback that could cost him more playing time in the NBA next season.
The rebuilding Suns selected Alex Len with the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, which led to early speculation that Gortat might become expendable. But while the team’s new GM Ryan McDonough will of course listen to offers, he’s said repeatedly this summer that the plan for now is to retain him for the foreseeable future — which essentially means through the end of next season.
The Suns can simply let Gortat walk after this season, of course, but he has just one year at $7.7 million remaining on his contract. And those expiring deals can be of great interest to teams as the midseason trade deadline approaches.