Despite previous reports that Marcin Gortat was strongly leaning towards playing in Russia, the Phoenix Suns center has not reached an agreement to play there during the NBA lockout, according to his agent Guy Zucker. Quoted in Hoopshype:
"I can assure you that the story claiming that he has reached an agreement with Spartak St. Petersburg of Russia is incorrect,” Zucker said.
The 27-year old, 6'11" Pole emerged as a solid inside presence for the Suns after his trade from Orlando in December, averaging 13.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in his 55 games in Phoenix, shooting a sparkling .563 from the field.
Though Gortat has only started 17 career games, his breakout last year, coupled with the continued struggles of Robin Lopez, make his hold on the Suns starting center position appear strong.
It's hard to say what playing overseas would do for Gortat. He just completed his fourth NBA season, but has spent a great deal of his career underutilized as Dwight Howard's backup in Orlando. He's trying to improve his post and mid-range game this summer, and honing his skills in live action might actually help him more than the added mileage on his body would hurt. However, there is always the injury risk and, due to his age and contract, Gortat is one of the most valuable (and potentially marketable) Suns players. Overall, it will probably be for the best if Gortat stays in the States during the lockout and works on his game here.