Yesterday, it was announced that Washington Wizards have traded Marcin Gortat for Austin Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers. For Rivers, it will mean a new beginning without with father, Doc Rivers, being his coach. This will help sort out the Clippers logjam at guard.
For the Wizards getting rid of Gortat and his constant passive-aggressive sniping at Wall, could be a win for the locker room. It was obvious that there was some tension there but Gortat was in a no win situation. An NBA locker room is small in number compared to other professional team sports. It is imperative that you get along with the star on that team.
Before people play the “players of today” card it’s always been this way. If you played in Boston, you better get along with Larry Bird. If you played in Atlanta, you better get along with Dominique Wilkins. This isn’t new.
Gortat couldn’t control his comments about Wall and his style of play. When Wall was out, Gortat gleefully described a victory over the Raptors as a “team” win. He publicly said he wanted to end his career in Orlando, the team who initially signed him. He also complained about his minutes as the Wizards coach, Scott Brooks, played more small ball.
Simply put, it was time for Gortat to go. The Wizards window is very close to closing. Despite having a high level backcourt in John Wall and Bradley Beal, Washington has continuously failed to get to the conference finals. GM Ernie Grunfeld has constantly put band-aids on problems instead of solving. them. An example of this is Ian Mahinmi’s awful contract.
There are just too many problems on the court to listen to the problems created by Gortat’s mouth. Washington did the right thing in trading him and the wrong thing in not drafting his replacement, Texas A&M’s Robert Williams.
So as the Wizards move into next season, there are some questions that are still there. Can Wall stay healthy? Will Otto Porter live up to his contract? But hopefully the problem in the locker room was solved.