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Gortat Disappointed That Magic Might Match Mavs' Offer Sheet

Jul 10, 2009 – 4:30 PM
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Tim Povtak

Tim Povtak %BloggerTitle%

Marcin GortatORLANDO -- With nothing else pressing before he leaves for his native Poland on Saturday, 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. Because he is a restricted free agent, the Magic can keep him just by matching the Mavericks' offer.

"I have a feeling now they (Magic) are going to match it,'' Gortat said Friday between Summer League Games. "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 is guaranteed the same money on either team, his development as a player could be greatly effected if he remains in Orlando.

Dallas would be expecting him to replace Erick Dampier in the starting lineup. The Magic would keep him as a backup to All-Star center Dwight Howard, which would limit his minutes considerably."You just never know about [Otis Smith]. He can laugh. He can smile, and at the end of the day, it's no, no, no, they aren't going to match, and all of a sudden I'm finding out they might match.''
-- Marcin Gortat

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.''

The Magic agreed to a four-year, $18 million deal with Bass, hoping he gives them more of a physical presence to complement a lineup mostly of shooters. It will allow Rashard Lewis to spend more time at his natural position of small forward.

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.''

Smith still would like to add another wing player, another center/forward and a third point guard to the roster. Regardless of who else is signed, they still expect a starting lineup of Howard, Lewis, Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter and Mickael Pietrus.

"He (Smith) is like an iceberg,'' Gortat said. "You just never know about him. He can laugh. He can smile, and at the end of the day, it's no, no, no, they aren't going to match, and all of a sudden I'm finding out they might match.''
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