Gortat expresses his unhappiness
"I love the organization, but I'm not going to stay here being a back-up player and playing five minutes a game," Gortat said. "I hope people understand that. I know I can have a bigger role on another team."
Except that this season he just started a new five-year contract with the Magic. Only a trade can provide a bigger role on another team.
Perhaps Gortat's frustration should not come as a surprise. He was less than enthused when the Magic matched the Dallas Mavericks' offer of five years, $34-million this past summer for the restricted free agent from Poland. He likely would have been the Mavs' starting center.
He said he'll likely meet with coach Stan Van Gundy after the season to discuss his future and direct his agent, Guy Zucker, to talk with general manager Otis Smith.
"I really don't think about this now. But at some point, I want to have the chance to sit down with coach Van Gundy and tell him how I feel and where I want to go with my career," Gortat said. "I'm 100 percent sure coach will understand and will do the right thing for me and the team.
"My agent will talk to Otis. But it's too early to say anything."
Gortat has not been happy with his recent playing time. After getting considerable minutes early (averaging 18.6 in his first 14 games) — largely because Howard was in foul trouble — Gortat has played seven, eight, seven and six minutes during the last four games. He has scored four points and grabbed eight rebounds with two blocks.
Van Gundy said that Gortat, a hustle player, is lacking energy.
"He's not playing to the level he played at a year ago. He's not rebounding at that level. He's not running at that level. His energy level is not as high on a consistent basis as it was a year ago. But that's not to say that he's playing poorly. Marcin helps us a great deal," Van Gundy said.
Van Gundy believes Gortat will bounce back to play a pivotal role.
"I think as the year goes on, you'll see him play better and better," Van Gundy said. "We'll see him back at the level he was at a year ago or even better."
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