Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE
Marcin Gortat has enjoyed playing with Jermaine O'Neal so much that he's willing to pay his salary next year if the Suns won't.
Phoenix Suns center Marcin Gortat is waiting until the end of the season to start talking about a new contract with the Suns. But that hasn't stopped him from wanting to get contract talks started for his backup, Jermaine O'Neal, even if it means putting up his own money.
According to the Arizona Republic, Gortat told Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby that he would pay for O'Neal's salary next year if the Suns decided they didn't want to bring O'Neal back.
O'Neal is making just $854,389 this season as opposed to Gortat who is raking in $7,258,960.
"He's a tremendous player, an amazing teammate and a true leader," Gortat said. "Playing with him has been my best experience from this year.
O'Neal is no stranger to being paid as he has one max contract already under his belt during his 16-year career. But if Gortat were to go through with his offer, it wouldn't make too much of a dent in Gortat's total, especially if he gets the raise many think he will get on the market or otherwise.
O'Neal is averaging 8.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game but has really been playing well lately. Over his last five games, he's averaging 12.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks.