According to Paul Coro of azcenteral.com, the Suns offered Gortat a contract extension back in October, one in which he ultimately declined:
Suns center Marcin Gortat said he turned down a multiyear contract extension offer in October from the Suns, clarifying what he told a Polish website, przegladsportowy.pl.
“We just said we’re going to wait,” Gortat said. “I want to finish this contract, and we’ll see where I go from there. It didn’t even bother me or change anything in my attitude or performance. The thing I’m concentrating is coming back to dominating the game and getting back to being a defensive spark.”
Obviously, Phoenix had to attempt to re-sign its big man. Gortat bursted onto the scene alongside Steve Nash after being acquired from the Orlando Magic and instantly became a vital two-way component for which the team to build around.
Once Nash left for the slick streets of Hollywood, though, many questioned whether or not Gortat would still be effective. After all, it had been Nash who made him the dominant scorer he became.
To an extent, there is a case to be made there, yet Gortat is still putting up respectable numbers. He’s currently averaging 11.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game to lead Phoenix’s low post charge. He’s also posting a PER of 18.80 as well, thus allowing us to see that Nash or no Nash, he is an extremely valuable commodity.
Which is why he was smart not to ink an extension with the Suns.
One could argue that he is holding off in hopes of raising his value, and this could be true. But declining to sign an extension now also ensures that Gortat won’t be stuck in Arizona should all go wrong in Phoenix.
Sure, the Suns would like to believe that they have a formidable blueprint for success in place, yet the reality is that they’re still a rebuilding team in flux. Guys like Goran Dragic and Luis Scola have played decent basketball, but whose to say they’re Phoenix’s eventual ticket to the playoffs? Shannon Brown has continued to impress, but he’s been a wild card his entire career. And don’t even get me started on the oft-inconsistent Michael Beasley.
You see, nothing about the Suns is certain, not even Gortat himself. They’re future is directly related to how well their plethora of new pieces evolve and subsequently play off one another. And while it could work out, it could also blow up in the Suns’ face.
So Gortat needs to keep his options open. He’s no All-Star, yet at 28, is he going to want to spend the rest of his prime attempting to lead the cause of a team that won’t even play .500 basketball?
I don’t think so.
Gortat has until next summer to see if the Suns are on the fast track to success. Should they prove to him that they’re current core of athletes is a step in the right direction, then he’ll undoubtedly be intrigued at the possibility of remaining with the team that fueled his rise to prominence.
Should he come to find that the Suns are destined for an extended stay in the land of mediocrity, however, he’ll be able to take his talents elsewhere, perhaps to a team that is on the brink of contention.
Ultimately, no one, not even Gortat, knows what he’ll do. But what we do know is that he’ll have options, because he refrained from tying himself down to one team with a future that is no clearer than dishwater.
So again, I must reiterate, Marcin Gortat is a smart man.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.