Say It Ain’t So

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 10, 2009 under Rumors | 15 Comments to Read

FanHouse’s Tim Povtak with the latest logic-defying rumor from Magic land:

…Marcin Gortat has been hanging around the Orlando Pro Summer League this week, rubbing shoulders with various NBA people. And he doesn’t like what he’s been hearing. Gortat, a restricted free agent, was ecstatic earlier this week after signing an offer sheet worth $33 million over five years with the Dallas Mavericks, believing it was his ticket to both riches and a starting position in the NBA. Now he hears otherwise…”I have a feeling now they (Magic) are going to match it…That’s what I’m hearing, they will match. We’ll have to see, but I’m kind of down right now. Either way, I’ll end up on a pretty good team.” Although Gortat also could see time at power forward in Orlando — the Magic experimented last season with Gortat and Howard playing together — the signing of free agent power forward Brandon Bass on Friday would further limit his role. “I want to develop my game and become a better player,” he said. “I just don’t know if I’d be getting the same minutes to play here as in Dallas.” …Although Gortat’s contract would seem excessive for a backup, the Magic still view him as an asset, and there are plenty of teams looking for centers. They would have to wait at least 90 days before they could trade him. “I’ve said all along, I think the number (his contract) is a little high,” Smith said. “But that doesn’t change how we think. One thing (signing Bass) doesn’t have anything to do with the other (matching Gortat). I’m still working on a few other things, and until those transpire, it’s kind of premature to say what we’re going to do.”

Losing Gortat would be a huge blow to the Mavs’ busy off-season, and seems nonsensical from Orlando’s perspective.  This isn’t the biggest of markets, and investing $34 million in a back-up center after just signing another frontcourt player is ill-advised at best.  It could be a smokescreen, though I’m not really sure what the benefit would be.  That said, if Otis Smith is convinced he can get something in a trade for Gortat, he may end up having the last laugh at Dallas’ expense.

  • Jon B

    oh……..if any of this is true, that is all i can muster. I figured the 4 team deal was manifested with the mavs making a underhanded deal with the magic to lay off gortat. I hope we dont get screwd like the blazers did.

  • Solar Bear

    No reason the Magic don’t match, wait the 90 days, and see who offers the most for Gortat in October. Houston is mighty itchy for a center.

  • Jared

    And according to another reporter, Gortat said this at some point today:

    “It just doesn’t look like they are going to pay all of that money to a backup player who plays 10 minutes a night,” Gortat said from the Orlando Pro Summer League, where he’s been a spectator all week. “(The Bass signing) explains a lot to me and it looks like I’ve got to get ready for a trip to Dallas.”

    Link: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=13262

    I have no idea what’s going on right now, and neither does Gortat apparently.

  • Brayden

    It wouldn’t surprise me to see Otis Smith match the offer and then try and then trade Gortat to a direct competitor like Houston. Not sure what they would offer, but they are bound to be getting desperate for a center sooner or later.

    PS – Why is Gortat now so down and out about playing with the Mavs? He’ll get more playing time and still have a chance to compete on a very good team. And its not like Rick Carlisle is an Avery type to make his life miserable either… I can’t imagine what kind of junk he might be hearing.

  • BK

    Brayden, Gortat is not down about coming to the Mavs. He says that he will be down if the Magic match.

  • Brayden

    Whoa, my bad! Totally misread that. Sorry guys, been studying all day for medical school board exams and the noggin is fried.

  • Jaredallas

    Brayden, not hard to misread what with the sensationalism and all. This was what might be called a “non-story”.
    I really think at best Otis Smith was trying to keep leverage (at worst it was a quote taken out of context) , but we’re good. Gortat is our new center and Marion is our new small forward and Dallas is back where we belong. Numero uno.

  • FriscoMavsMan

    Why would they match? Any team in the league could have made him an offer as an FA, but now those same teams are supposed to be willing to trade an asset for him and give him more money than they were offering him as a FA. I don’t understand the logic.

  • Brayden

    FriscoMavsMan, If another team trades an asset, they no longer have the salary of that asset on their books and may be able to fit Gortat’s salary into their payroll without going into tax territory. This may have not been possible if they had to pay that asset and Gortat, which could have been why other teams didn’t offer larger deals in the first place. In other words, it comes down to whether a team values the asset they are trading or the ability to sign Gortat more. The asset can definitely be worth a lot less than Gortat overall because the Magic must move the Polish hammer and must take back a player only making a lot less money to avoid paying the tax themselves.

    I read somewhere that Houston was looking into the availability of Theo Ratliff, so they have to be getting pretty desperate for a starting center by now…

  • Kevin

    I can’t see Orlando trading him for anything other than a teams trade exception with picks. If they keep Gortat (or trade him for equal cap value) by my estimates they’ll be at about 76 million in payroll for the year and i believe the luxury tax starts at 63 million or so.

    Let’s all just hope that this doesn’t lead us to sign Glen Davis. I looked at the list of available free agents and his name popped out as the guy we’d donk our midlevel on.

    • http://www.thetwomangame.com Rob Mahoney

      @Kevin: The thing about the luxury tax is that pay day is delayed until the end of the regular season season. The Magic would have time to wait the requisite 90 days and flip Gortat to another team without having to pay tax dollars, provided they could find a suitor in time. Given the state of the Mavs, Rockets, and other would-be contenders looking for help inside, you’d think they’d be able to get a nibble on the line for the average salary. When faced with the possibility of getting absolutely nothing for Gortat, getting anything seems like a sweet deal. Mind you the Magic would have to take on additional salary for trade purposes, but maybe Orlando could package Gortat with their trade exception to wrangle in another high-quality wing.

      And ugh, Glen Davis would be such a terrible investment. I’d find a way to live if the Magic match the offer to Gortat, but paying Big Baby big bucks would really test my patience with this franchise.

  • Kevin

    Hopefully the rumors aren’t true. We could be so much better with Gortat I don’t even think people realize it. For how good offensively the team has been we essentially play almost 4 on 5 because Damp’s hands and finishing ability is so bad. With Marion and Gortat (and Quinton Ross will be important I think) we really could have beaten anybody. Now we’ll probably just be slightly worse than Denver and Portland like we were last year.

  • Lee

    One problem Rob, a team in a trade like Houston would have to be willing to give up 5 million worth of player/players to trade for Gortat and then Orlando would still be paying the luxury tax.

  • http://www.thetwomangame.com Rob Mahoney

    @Lee: True, but Orlando will have time to possibly clear some salary by then. They also might be willing to foot the luxury tax bill if they can get assets in return, say a bonafide rotation player with a $5 million price tag and some future picks? If the Magic match, it won’t be because they expect to be blown away by huge offers; The aim will be to cut their losses grab something in return for Gortat’s bolt.

  • Lee

    There are just too many things that could go wrong for Orlando, I don’t see any way that the Magic will gamble when Houston already balked at giving the MLE to Gortat. The only real player for Gortat is the Mavs and they wouldn’t be able to trade for him for a year.