Washington Wizards Rumors

Wizards Sign John Lucas III

October 21 at 11:10am CDT By Chuck Myron

11:10am: The deal is official, the team announced.

9:21am: The contract will be non-guaranteed, according to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.

8:04am: The Wizards are close to signing John Lucas III, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Washington’s interest is related to shooting guard Bradley Beal‘s injury, Stein suggests, though Lucas plays point guard. Still, Lucas would help provide depth that would allow Andre Miller and Garrett Temple to shift to the two-guard position. The Wizards are limited to giving the minimum salary to Lucas, who turns 32 next month, but it’s not clear whether there’ll be any guaranteed money involved.

The seven-year veteran became a free agent last month after the Celtics waived him shortly following their acquisition of him from the Cavs via trade. It was the second trade of the offseason for Lucas, who went from the Jazz to Cleveland in July. His non-guaranteed contract called for him to make $1.6MM for 2014/15, not much more than the minimum, but enough to help two teams view him more as trade ballast than as a potential contributor. He saw 14.1 minutes per game for Utah last season, nearly setting a career high, but his scoring and assists per contest declined for the second year in a row.

Washington has been carrying 17 players, as our roster counts show, and the addition of Lucas would be an ominous sign for Rasual ButlerDamion James and Xavier Silas, each of whom has a non-guaranteed salary. The Wizards have 13 full guarantees plus a partial guarantee with Glen Rice Jr.

Wizards To Cut Butler, James, Silas

October 21 at 9:38am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Wizards are set to part ways with Rasual Butler, Damion James and Xavier Silas, reports J. Michael of CSNWashington.com, who writes amid his story on Washington’s deal with John Lucas III. That indicates that the club will place its non-guaranteed contracts with the trio on waivers in advance of Monday’s deadline to set its opening-night roster. The addition of Lucas will give the team 15 players with at least a partial guarantee, which puts the squeeze on Butler, James and Silas.

The three swingmen appeared to have better chances at remaining with the team into the regular season once Bradley Beal went down with injury, but it looks like GM Ernie Grunfeld is going a different direction to bolster his backcourt. James and Silas were reportedly the strongest contenders among the three to remain with the team. Silas went to training camp with the Wizards this fall for the second year in a row, while James was the 24th overall pick in 2010 and showed promise before a series of injuries derailed his career. The 35-year-old Butler was hoping to duplicate what he did with Indiana last year, when he made the Pacers out of camp and wound up contributing in the playoffs.

The subtraction of Butler, James and Silas will drop the Wizards to 15 players, seemingly setting the club’s opening-night roster. Washington released Daniel Orton, Vander Blue and David Stockton earlier in the preseason.

And-Ones: Hornacek, Mavs, Knicks

October 19 at 9:31pm CDT By Arthur Hill

Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press writes that assistant coaching positions are now some of the NBA’s more glamorous positions. Coaches tell Krawczynski that the rising salaries and profiles of the assistants are justified. “There’s a lot more to head coaching than actual coaching,” Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek said. “There’s a lot of other stuff that comes up. To try to put your full effort into everything is tough to do. That’s where the assistants become really valuable in terms of getting the basketball stuff ready, narrowing it down for you to look at the game plan and it’s already done pretty much for you [to] just go from there.”  More from around the league..

  • Despite losing key cogs of their championship team over the past few years, the Mavs appear poised to contend in 2014/15, writes Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. Familiar faces like J.J. Barea and Caron Butler have moved on since 2010/11, but Dallas has a strong new supporting cast built around Dirk Nowitzki.  This offseason also saw the Mavs welcome back big man Tyson Chandler.
  • Knicks associate coach Kurt Rambis is helping rookie head coach Derek Fisher adjust to the pressures of coaching in New York, writes Mark Berman of the New York Post. Rambis worked as an assistant under new Knicks president Phil Jackson with the Lakers and understands the pressures of coaching in a big-city atmosphere. “I’m giving him countless suggestions, even how to monitor his time,’’ said Rambis, who was hired in July. “… Derek is a perfectionist, constantly thinking about the game. He did it as a player and it’s worse when you become a head coach. I want him to find time to do it.’’
  • The KnicksTravis Wear has already seen his twin brother get cut from an NBA roster, and he is hoping to avoid the same fate, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv.  Wear has just $62K of his $507K contact guaranteed, and the Knicks have 15 players in camp with fully guaranteed deals. Zagoria reports that Wear has fit in well with the Knicks’ new triangle offense, but he may wind up with the team’s D-League affiliate in Westchester, N.Y. Wear’s brother, David, was waived Sunday by the Kings.
  • The NBPA hired Gary Kohlman as its new general counsel, a source tells Ben Strauss of the New York Times.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Central Notes: Bulls, Kidd, Cavs

October 19 at 9:24pm CDT By Zach Links

Mary Stevens of Basketball Insiders looked at three under-the-radar rookies to watch, including Doug McDermott of the Bulls.  The former Creighton standout will have to adjust to pace of the NBA quickly as Chicago has high hopes for this season, but he is widely regarded as one of the most NBA-ready players out of the 2014 class.  More from the Central Division..

  • Bucks coach Jason Kidd told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com he now believes the rumors that the Nets wanted to fire him as their coach last December. Later, the offseason trade that sent him to Milwaukee in exchange for two second-round draft picks convinced him of that, though many would say that it was Kidd who forced that situation. Kidd also questioned the Nets’ decision not to retain free agent forward Paul Pierce, who signed a two-year, $11MM deal with the Wizards. “I believe it,” Kidd said regarding Pierce’s claim about not being offered a contract. “I mean, if they don’t offer [Pierce] a contract worth what a first-round pick is, then why did we do the deal [last year for Pierce and Kevin Garnett]?”
  • After dropping Stephen Holt and Chris Crawford today, the Cavs need to make at least one more cut before the regular season begins.  However, it’s more likely that they will make two cuts to leave a roster spot open for a free agent, writes Chris Haynes of The Plain Dealer.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie sees an opportunity for increased playing time with the Pistons, between his improving knee and this week’s trade that sent Will Bynum to the Celtics.  The point guard, who suffered a torn ACL last winter, told Keith Langlois of Pistons.com that his knee is feeling better and that he is ready to compete for minutes. Detroit traded Bynum away within days of Dinwiddie taking part in his first simulated game action, which may or may not be coincidental.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Kings To Waive Bhullar, Burton, Wear

October 19 at 2:12pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

2:12pm: The Kings confirmed that they have waived the trio.

8:43am: The Kings intend to waive Sim Bhullar, Deonte Burton, and David Wear, Sean Cunningham of News 10 Sacramento reports (Twitter link). Burton and Wear were in camp on non-guaranteed minimum salary deals, but Bhullar had a partial guarantee of $35K on his pact which Sacramento is on the hook for unless another team submits a waiver claim. These moves will reduce the Kings’ preseason roster count to 15, with 13 of those agreements being fully guaranteed. No announcement from the team has been made yet.

When Bhullar was signed by the Kings it marked the first time a player of Indian descent joined the NBA. The 7’5″ big man had  declared for the NBA draft in mid-April, shortly after he and New Mexico State were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Bhullar averaged 10.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 2.4 BPG in 24.4 MPG while shooting 62.1% from the field as a freshman and 10.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 3.4 BPG, while shooting 64.8% as a sophomore.

The 23-year-old Burton spent summer league with the Wizards after going undrafted, averaging just 1.8 points in 17.3 minutes per contest, but he put up much better numbers as a senior with the Nevada Wolf Pack this past season, chipping in for 20.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 4.4 assists against 2.0 turnovers in 38.6 MPG.

Wear, a 6’9″ 23-year-old, spent time in the summer league with the Bulls, averaging 4.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game across five appearances. He didn’t log impressive numbers at UCLA, going for 6.5 PPG and 3.8 RPG in 22.9 MPG. His playing time decreased each successive year after he saw 28.4 MPG as a sophomore. Wear transferred to UCLA after spending his freshman year at North Carolina.

Wizards Release Daniel Orton

October 16 at 11:31am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Wizards have waived Daniel Orton, the team announced (Twitter link). The center’s contract was non-guaranteed, so the team won’t be on the hook for any of what was to have been a minimum salary. The move leaves 17 players on Washington’s roster.

The 24-year-old former first-round pick inked his deal to join the Wizards for camp after working out for the Pistons and canceling another workout with the Clippers once they signed Ekpe Udoh. Orton also reportedly auditioned for the Lakers. The Ara Vartanian client made the Sixers out of camp last year, but Philadelphia waived him in January shortly before his salary was to have become guaranteed for the rest of the season. The 29th overall pick from the 2010 draft proceeded to sign with the D-League in January, and he played 24 games with the affiliate of the Celtics.

Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld still has decisions to make before the team finalizes its opening-night roster. Wing players Rasual Butler, Damion James and Xavier Silas are all on non-guaranteed deals and seemingly competing for the 15th spot, though it’s uncertain whether the team will carry the maximum 15 players when the regular season starts.

Wizards Pick Up Options On Beal, Porter

October 14 at 5:01pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Wizards have announced that they have exercised their options on Bradley Beal and Otto Porter, which will keep them under their rookie scale contracts for 2015/16, the team announced in a press release. “Bradley and Otto are both big pieces of the core group of players that we will build around as we continue to improve our team,” said team president Ernie Grunfeld.  “We look forward to them playing significant roles in our success both now and in the future.”

The moves are not unexpected, as Beal is an integral part of Washington’s offense and one of the team’s building blocks moving forward, despite suffering a broken wrist that will sideline him for a minimum of six to eight weeks. Porter is also part of the Wizards’ future, and is only one season removed from being a lottery pick. The team option was for the fourth year of Beal’s deal, and he is slotted to make $5,694,674 in 2015/16. Porter’s option was a third-year one, and Porter is on the books for $4,662,960 next season.

Beal ended last season second on the team in scoring at 17.5 PPG, and added 3.7 RPG, and 3.3 APG. He shot 41.9% overall, and 40% from long range  Beal was selected third overall by Washington back in the 2012 NBA Draft. The team is expected to try to work out a long-term extension with Beal next summer, and with the new TV deal on the horizon it will be interesting to see how much he commands.

Porter was selected third overall by Washington in the 2013 NBA Draft. He was a disappointment in his first year, averaging 2.1PPG and 1.5 RPG in 37 games contests last season. Porter showed some flashes this summer when he was named to the 2014 All-NBA Summer League First Team after logging 19.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 1.8 APG. With the arrival of Paul Pierce, Porter won’t see huge minutes this season, but he has the opportunity to be a rotation contributor.

Wizards Plan Extension For Bradley Beal In 2015

October 13 at 11:31am CDT By Chuck Myron

Bradley Beal won’t be eligible for an extension to his rookie scale contract until July, but the Wizards are already planning to come to terms with him next offseason, and his latest injury hasn’t given the team pause, sources tell J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Beal is likely out six to eight weeks with a broken wrist, but it remains a fait accompli that the team will pick up his approximately $5.695MM rookie scale team option for 2015/16 by the deadline at the end of the month, Michael writes.

Beal played in only 56 games as a rookie thanks to a leg injury and was on a minutes limit last year because of another injury to the same leg, as Michael notes, but his history of ailments apparently isn’t a concern to GM Ernie Grunfeld and his staff. A quick extension for Beal would follow the team’s path with backcourt mate John Wall, to whom the team committed a five-year maximum-salary deal in 2013 despite the fact that to that point he’d missed at least 13 games in two of his three seasons in the NBA. The extension made Wall the team’s Designated Player, meaning the Wizards can grant an extension of no more than four years to Beal as long as Wall remains on the roster.

It’s conceivable that Beal will be worth the maximum salary, as Michael opines, but it remains unknown whether the team wants to jump into a max deal with the Mark Bartelstein client just as it did with Wall. The maximum salary is tied to the salary cap, and it’s unclear just how high the salary cap will spike for the summer of 2016, when an extension for Beal would kick in. The league’s new $24 billion TV deal also takes effect that summer, but while some projections have the cap surging as high as $80MM, it’s not yet known if the league will phase in more gradual increases, and if so, how the league would structure those incremental rises. Waiting until Beal hits restricted free agency in the summer of 2016 would give both sides the ability to see where the max and the cap are situated before committing to a deal. The Wizards have only about $29MM on the books for 2016/17, but locking themselves into a max extension for Beal might make it difficult for the team to chase free agent target Kevin Durant in the summer of 2016.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Magic, Gordon

October 12 at 4:46pm CDT By Zach Links

The Heat haven’t looked all that sharp so far in preseason, but they expect to improve once they have forward Josh McRoberts back in the lineup, writes Shandel Richardson of the Sun-Sentinel.  When his toe injury heals, McRoberts’ skills – namely his passing – could open things up more for stars Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.  Here’s more from the Southeast Division..

  • The Wizards announced that Bradley Beal‘s wrist surgery from earlier today was successful, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The new timetable given by the team is six weeks as opposed to the six-to-eight week estimate that was reported Saturday.
  • Magic guard Ben Gordon, who signed a two-year, $9MM deal with Orlando this offseason, is happy to have Charlotte in his rear view mirror, writes John Denton of NBA.com. “(The struggles in Charlotte) bothered me a lot while I was there. Obviously, I was happy to be out of that situation,’’ Gordon said. “It’s behind me now. It’s just one of those things that happens and you try to learn from it and I’m just moving on.’”
  • An industry source with knowledge of the Magic‘s thinking tells Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel that the team supports a proposal to alter the NBA Draft Lottery.  The proposal would give the teams with the four worst overall records nearly identical chances to win the No. 1 pick.

Eastern Rumors: Allen, Wizards, Sixers

October 11 at 9:27pm CDT By Cray Allred

A person close to Ray Allen told J. Michael of CSNWashington.com that “nothing has changed” for the veteran shooting guard, who has yet to decide whether to retire or join up with one several teams seeking his services. The Cavs remain the front runners for Allen, and GM David Griffin was in contact with Allen’s people a few days ago according to Michael. Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference, including more on the Allen front:

  • The CSNWashington.com scribe reveals that the Thunder and Bucks have contacted Allen’s representatives, in addition to previously reported interest from the Cavs, Wizards, Bulls, and Spurs. Michael notes that Milwaukee’s homecoming pitch fell flat.
  • Michael doesn’t think a starting role with the Wizards while Bradley Beal recovers from his wrist injury will make Washington any more enticing to Allen. A source also tells Michael that Wizards won’t pursue a “knee-jerk” trade, which jibes with early reporter reactions to news of Beal’s injury.
  • While Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer doesn’t expect the Sixers to be a good team in the near future, coach Brett Brown tells Pompey that he sees “daylight” ahead for the club. “I see a big bright light at the end of this,” Brown said. “I see [Dario] Saric around the corner. I see [Joel] Embiid getting healthy. I see more draft picks. I see [Michael] Carter-Williams and Nerlens [Noel] getting older. I see an abundance of money and flexibility to look at free agents.”
  • Sam Amick of USA Today (video link) asked 27 GMs around the league whom they would start their team with, if given the choice, and the majority of them selected LeBron James despite cornerstones like Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis having youth on their side.