The Wizards have officially signed Will Bynum to a 10-day contract, the team announced via press release, a statement that also formalized the termination of Toure’ Murry‘s second 10-day contract with the club. Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post originally reported both moves late Thursday. Bynum and the Wizards have been linked for quite some time as the point guard had seemingly been the team’s top target since at least the beginning of February. Shams Charania of RealGM first reported in January about Washington’s interest in Bynum, who’d been playing for China’s Guangdong Southern Tigers.
Bynum, 32, signed his Chinese deal, a guaranteed arrangement reportedly worth more than a $1MM, in December after spending about a month as a free agent following his release from the Celtics just before opening night. Boston had acquired the seven-year NBA veteran from the Pistons, his longtime team, via trade earlier that month. He put up 22.3 points, 7.0 assists and 3.2 turnovers in 32.1 minutes per game for Guangdong, which strung together the majority of its 26-game winning streak with Bynum on the roster. There was reportedly mutual interest that developed between the Cavs and Bynum while he was overseas, but Cleveland’s addition of Kendrick Perkins, who filled the team’s last open roster spot, seemingly put the Cavs out of the mix. A hamstring injury had Washington looking at Bobby Brown and eventually led the Wizards to Murry, but the team never lost interest in Bynum.
Washington slides Bynum into its only roster spot not occupied by a player who has a contract that runs through at least the end of the season. It’s somewhat surprising to see the Wizards give the point guard only a 10-day deal, given the team’s longstanding interest, but it allows for maximum flexibility, and it seems likely that the team will retain Bynum once his short-term deal is up, though that’s just my speculation.
FRIDAY, 10:59am: Murry’s subtraction is official, the team announced via press release.
THURSDAY, 8:20pm: The Wizards intend to ink Bynum to a deal, Castillo tweets.
8:13pm: The Wizards intend to release Toure’ Murry, who is on his second 10-day deal with the club, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post tweets. Murry has a sprained ankle and Bradley Beal is expected to miss time with ankle woes of his own, so Washington will need to add some backcourt depth as a result, Castillo adds. The Wizards’ roster count currently sits at the league maximum of 15 players.
There’s a possibility that Washington will try to add free agent Will Bynum to its roster, Castillo adds. The Wizards will look to the D-League for help if Bynum isn’t signed, the Washington Post scribe notes. Bynum came free from his Chinese team at the beginning of March following the club’s playoff elimination. In 353 career NBA games the 32-year-old has averaged 8.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. His last appearance in the league came with the Pistons during the 2013/14 campaign.
Murry, 25, saw one single minute of action for the Jazz earlier this season before he was waived, much to the chagrin of his agent Bernie Lee, who didn’t think Murry was given a fair chance in Utah. He appeared in four contests for the Wizards, averaging 1.5 points in 4.3 minutes per game. The Wizards could still look to ink Murry for the remainder of the season if his ankle heals and Bynum isn’t signed, Castillo notes.
The Lakers, Knicks, Sixers and Hawks have been linked to soon-to-be restricted free agent Tobias Harris, but the belief is that the Magic would match just about any offer of less than $13MM a year, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who looks at Harris and other top free agents. It’s unclear whether those four non-Orlando teams are interested, Harris is interested in them, or both, though the Knicks are reportedly planning a pursuit amid conflicting reports about whether he’s eager to play for them. Kyler wrote earlier this month that there’s a sense that the Sixers will make a play for Harris, too. Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:
- It’s likely that Al Jefferson will turn down his $13.5MM player option for next season, Kyler writes in the same piece, adding that while the belief is that he’d like to remain with the Hornets, there’s also a sense that the 30-year-old will go to the highest bidder in free agency.
- Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel wonders whether the Heat will sign a big man to help a thin frontcourt rotation in the wake of Hassan Whiteside‘s injury. Whiteside is out at least a few more days with a hand laceration that will probably take two weeks to heal completely, as Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post relays. The Heat were reportedly among the teams with interest in signing JaVale McGee earlier this month.
- Coaches rarely last in the NBA, but SB Nation’s Tom Ziller argues that the Wizards have been too patient with Randy Wittman.
Josh McRoberts is traveling with the Heat for the first time since tearing the meniscus in his right knee in early December, Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post writes. “He’s progressing very well, but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves right now and I wouldn’t look too much into this road trip,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It’s really to help him with his spirits being around the team, and we’re enjoying that, but the larger picture is he’s going to be able to do more work with our training staff. The last couple road trips we left him back there to work with our trainers, but we’ve had so many injuries that we need our full staff here right now. That means Josh has to come with us. But he will not be working with the basketball coaches, not yet.”
When asked about the possibility of McRoberts returning to action this season, Spoelstra said, “He’s still not working with coaches. Everything is with trainers right now. I check in with him every single day. Most of the work is in the training room and the weight room. I’m not thinking about him playing this year.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- The Rockets will learn on Wednesday if Patrick Beverley will need season-ending surgery on his injured wrist, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter links). The guard is waiting for doctors to inform him if continued play will risk further ligament damage before making his final decision, Spears adds.
- The Wizards and the Nets are both interested in one-to-one affiliations with D-League teams, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today tweets. Both franchises currently share the Fort Wayne Mad Ants with the 11 other NBA teams also without one-to-one affiliations.
- LSU sophomore forward Jordan Mickey is leaning toward entering the 2015 NBA draft, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). Mickey averaged 15.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game for the Tigers this season. The 6’8″ big man is currently ranked as the No. 81 prospect by DraftExpress.
- Sean Deveney of The Sporting News looked at 10 players whose performances in the NCAA Tournament improved their NBA draft stock. Deveney’s list includes Justise Winslow (Duke), Terry Rozier (Louisville), Jerian Grant (Notre Dame), and Jakob Poeltl (Utah).
Ramon Sessions is growing more comfortable with the Wizards, especially offensively, after a deadline-day trade that brought him to Washington ended a brief and unusual tenure with the Kings, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post details.
“I’ve been around for a while and I’ve been around with a few different teams and it was probably one of the strangest things, to have three coaches by the All-Star break,” Sessions said. “A lot different things you’re hearing from different people and it didn’t really correlate with what was going on on the court. So it was tough. It definitely was tough. Me being an older guy, it was a little easier, but I know for some of the young guys it had to be real tough.”
Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:
- The Suns reportedly had interest in Luol Deng at last year’s trade deadline and during this past offseason‘s free agency, but they didn’t ask about him as they negotiated the Goran Dragic deal with the Heat last month, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports.
- The Heat have been planning a free agency push for 2016, but that’ll be difficult unless team president Pat Riley wants to break up the core he has now, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines.
- Ohio State coach Thad Matta has suggested that Greg Oden will make another NBA comeback attempt, but the former No. 1 overall pick had limited passion for the game last season with the Heat, Winderman writes in the same piece.
- The toe injury that’s sidelined Hawks power forward Mike Scott doesn’t involve a broken bone as previously reported, writes Paul Newberry of The Associated Press. Scott was reportedly expected to miss four to six weeks as of a week ago, but now it’s likely he’ll be back at full strength for the playoffs, according to Newberry. The postseason begins three weeks from Saturday. The team’s 10-day contract with Austin Daye, whom the Hawks signed to offset the loss of Scott, expires overnight tonight.
The Wizards have signed Toure’ Murry to a second 10-day contract, the team announced. Shams Charania of RealGM reported Thursday that the move was likely even as the team continues to eye Will Bynum, who’s recovering from a hamstring injury. Bynum remained the team’s top free agent target when Murry signed his first 10-day contract, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post wrote then. That first 10-day deal for Murry expired overnight Saturday.
It appears Washington’s primary motivation in keeping Murry around is depth. The second-year combo guard has only played in two games for a total of four minutes for the Wizards, even though fellow combo guard Garrett Temple hasn’t played since March 9th because of a hamstring injury of his own.
Washington has 14 other players signed through at least the end of the season, so Murry’s roster spot represents a measure of flexibility for the club. The team can’t sign him to a third 10-day contract, and with Bynum apparently still in the mix, it seems unlikely Murry will see a deal with the Wizards for the balance of 2014/15 once his latest 10-day contract expires.
The Wizards are likely to sign Toure’ Murry to a second 10-day contract even as they continue to keep an eye on No. 1 target Will Bynum, league sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The team signed Murry last week as Bynum nursed a hamstring injury, though it appeared then that Bynum, if healthy, would be Washington’s preference, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post reported at that point. The team’s first 10-day deal with Murry expires at the end of Saturday.
Murry, the former Knicks and Jazz combo guard, also seemingly found a place on the roster in part because of the absence of Garrett Temple, who’s out with a hamstring injury of his own. Still, Murry has seen only four minutes of action for the Wizards so far. That’s nonetheless more than the single regular season minute of play he saw with the Jazz, who signed him to a two-year, $2MM deal in the offseason that was partially guaranteed for $250K.
Washington has 14 contracts that carry through the end of the season, so Murry’s spot represents the team’s measure of flexibility. That spot had been open since the Wizards waived Glen Rice Jr. on January 7th until they signed Murry, with Ray Allen apparently the team’s ultimate goal until Allen decided earlier this month he wouldn’t play in the NBA this year.
Former Wizard Andre Miller said he got the “bad end of the stick” in Washington, tweets J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. The veteran point guard was shipped to Sacramento in a deadline-day trade that reunited him with longtime coach George Karl. Miller, 38, implies that the trade was the Wizards’ way of blaming him for their midseason downturn. He was backing up John Wall in Washington, averaging 3.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in just 12.4 minutes of playing time. Miller also expessed his frustration to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post (Twitter link): “For a guy to only play 10 minutes a game you figure why would I be the one to get moved,” Miller asked. “But I try not to individualize it.”
There’s more news from the Southeast Division:
- The Wizards need more production from Bradley Beal to become a serious playoff contender, writes Michael Lee of The Washington Post. Beal, who recently returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a stress reaction in his right leg, agreed with that assessment. “My game definitely has to escalate,” he said. “And it has to escalate now. I know it starts with John [Wall] and [me]. I have to definitely step up my play. He’s been playing well all year and I’ve been on a roller coaster. I definitely have to be aggressive and be the star that people think I should be.”
- Elfrid Payton‘s troubles at the free throw line won’t keep him out of the Magic lineup, according to Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Interim Orlando coach James Borrego said he will keep playing the rookie regardless of how he shoots foul shots. “I’m not going to take him out if they keep hacking him,” Borrego said. Payton is shooting 53% from the line and had a particularly bad performance Friday against Boston, making just four of 15 as the Celtics purposely fouled him.
12:00pm: The deal is official, the Wizards announced.
THURSDAY, 10:27am: There’s been no official announcement from the Wizards, but Murry put pen to paper on a contract this morning, according to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post (Twitter link). The team still views Will Bynum as its top choice for the roster spot that Murry is going into for now, but he’s still nursing a hamstring injury, Castillo also tweets.
WEDNESDAY, 4:45pm: The Wizards intend to sign Toure’ Murry to a 10-day contract, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The 25-year-old has been playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s D-League affiliate, since he was waived by the Jazz back in January. The Wizards currently have 14 players on their roster, so no additional moves would be necessary to ink Murry.
The 6’5″ guard from Wichita State saw one single minute of action for the Jazz this season, much to the chagrin of his agent Bernie Lee, who didn’t think Murry was given a fair chance in Utah. “Utah just didn’t see value in giving [Toure’] a real opportunity to prove himself, which is their right,” Lee said. “I had a sense things were working against him early when during the Jazz’s first open scrimmage in the preseason the team-employed radio voice used the forum to crush his future NBA prospects. Just an odd situation through and through. He went to Utah as a young developing point guard who played 51 games for an extremely visible team and today leaves Utah having played his last game as an assigned player in the NBADL [D-League] having been asked to play the four. Perspective and opportunity are a funny thing in basketball.”
Murry saw a bit more action for the Knicks last season, putting up 2.7 points in 7.3 minutes per game across 51 appearances. Murry has appeared in 16 contests for the Vipers this season, averaging 12.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.6 assists in 28.2 minutes per game.
There is growing concern within the Heat organization about center Hassan Whiteside‘s maturity and self-control, Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post writes. Whiteside was ejected from Monday night’s game, which was the second time in the last five games the big man was tossed from a contest, and it resulted in a one game suspension. When asked if he was disappointed in Whiteside, Dwyane Wade said, “Very. We all are. As a Heat fan you are. In this locker room we are. Everybody. He’s gonna have to learn and he’s gonna learn the hard way. He’s doing it his own way. Hopefully he changes his mentality pretty quick. Players gotta understand how important they are to an organization and continue to understand that moment when you finally got that call-up, how you felt. You would’ve done anything to get that, just to be here. Sometimes you start feeling yourself a little too much. A lot of us are guilty of that. You’ve gotta humble yourself. Hopefully Hassan gets it.”
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- With Garrett Temple expected to miss at least a week due to a hamstring injury, the Wizards are likely to fill their final roster spot, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post tweets. The team is currently weighing its options on available players, but no signing appears imminent, Castillo adds.
- Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer was the driving force behind Atlanta matching the four-year, $32MM offer sheet that the Bucks had signed Jeff Teague to back in 2013, Lee Jenkins of SI.com writes. Teague is certainly rewarding his coach’s faith this season, averaging 16.8 points and 7.2 assists in 31.2 minutes per contest.
- The trade for Reggie Jackson cost the Pistons two starting players, but the long-term benefits of the trade should outweigh the short-term setback, Keith Langlois of NBA.com writes. “It’s not like we didn’t think about [the present] this year,” Detroit coach/executive Stan Van Gundy said. “We knew as far as for this year that it was a gamble. Just because of continuity, we would’ve been better off not making moves. We knew that. We thought we could make those moves and still stay right in the playoff race and we were willing to take that gamble because of what we thought it did for the future.“