Here’s guest writer Bryan Frantz, back with another crack for Mr. Irrelevant.
So, the Wiz re-signed Marcin Gortat, as you may have heard.
That’s fine, he was a huge part of the team last season, and he brings a toughness and interior presence that nobody else on the roster can offer. His 13.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game were vital to the Wizards’ regular-season run, as was his particularly stellar play in April and May, and there was little else available in free agency if they didn’t bring him back.
However, did you see those numbers? Five years and $60 million? For a 30-year-old big man? The wrath of Ernie Grunfeld strikes again.
A deal for $12 million annually is a bit much, but it wouldn’t be an issue if Washington was off the hook in 2017 or maybe 2018. Instead, the Gortat is on the books until 2019, when he’ll be 35.
This is a win-now move, but is Gortat really the player that they need to contend for a title? Does Grunfeld believe that this team, as currently assembled, is one role player away from a championship? Because it’s not.
However, what does Washington expect to do three years from now with its core players — John Wall, Bradley Beal, maybe Otto Porter — hitting their primes and it needs one more piece to complete the puzzle? They can’t do much, as they’ll still be paying a past-his-prime big man $12 million per year.
Next season, the Wiz will pay Gortat, Martell Webster, Nene and Andre Miller a combined $35 million, per Spotrac.com. The salary cap is expected to be around $63 million, meaning a little more than 55 percent of their cap space will be spent on two starters, a backup wingman (if Trevor Ariza is back, otherwise he’ll likely start) and a 38-year-old backup point guard.
Just because numbers are fun, let’s take note that these four players played in 270 of a possible 328 games last season, are all a year older and Webster will now miss three to five months with a back injury (never good).
I get the idea of keeping a core intact, and I get the idea of rewarding guys who have done your franchise good. But couldn’t Gortat be had for four years and $45 million? Or how about a front-loaded deal for three years and $40 million? Pay him a bundle now, while he’s still a highly capable player, then leave yourself the option to be free of his contract in a few seasons when you might need to add another legitimate star.
And let’s not forget, a certain hometown star is due to hit free agency in 2016. Maybe it’s best not to tie up too much money for the long term. After all, which sounds better: “Wall, Beal and Gortat” or “Wall, Beal and Durant”?