Gortat: "This is a huge opportunity for me"
Usually when a player gets traded, when he describes the process of arriving to his new team "a hell for me" it raises eyebrows.
But not with Marcin Gortat. He's elated to be with the Wizards, after being traded Friday from the Phoenix Suns.
He practiced with the Wizards for the first time Monday at Verizon Center. But he worked on his own at the facility Sunday.
"Well, I knew I was going to get traded so I was prepared for it. But when you hear the word that is coming out of the GMs mouth, 'Listen, we just traded you' … it was kind of hard for me at the beginning," Gortat, a 6-11 center who has six-year career averages of 8.6 point and 6.9 rebounds per game. "NBA is one big business. I'm happy it happened right now and not in the middle of the season. It's going to take me a few games, a few weeks, to adjust to the new system and the new players. I"m 100 percent sure I'll be successful here.
"Let me tell you about the last 24 hours. It was kind of a hell because of the 30th, on Wednesday, we're supposed to have a Polish night in Phoenix. I flew in six soldiers from Afghanistan. I flew in Minister of Sports from Poland. I flew in an an ambassador. I flew in all different kids from my camps. I probably brought about 25 kids from Poland. Unfortunately, I'm not there. They all have been sitting ... at dinner chatting about everything. I was sitting by myself here in a hotel. Quite honestly the last 24 hours were a hell for me. It's disappointing. ... Hopefully, we'll have a Polish night here."
Coach Randy Wittman wouldn't commit to Gortat being his starter at the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday (CSN, 7:30 p.m. ET), but it's hard to imagine a scenario that he wouldn't be at center with Nene at power forward.
"I'm really pumped up," Gortat said about playing in the nation's capital. "I know we have a lot of Polish media here also. I don't know if I should be happy about it. I'm definitely got to work with them. .. It's closer to my house in Orlando where I stay in the offseason. It's closer to Europe its only six hours difference. ... Direct flights straight from here to Warsaw. What else do you need?"