Washington Wizards Rumors

And-Ones: Heat, D-League, Brown, Knicks

January 28 at 10:26pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Knicks coach Derek Fisher said that it was very important for New York to sign Louis Amundson and Lance Thomas for the remainder of the season, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com reports (Twitter link). Both players are inked to 10-day deals that expire this week. In five appearances for the Knicks this season, Thomas has averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game. Amundson has also made five appearances for New York, and his averages are 4.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per night.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • All of the injuries that the Heat have endured this season haven’t allowed the team to see how effective its intended roster could be, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. “The most disappointing thing is we’re not even having a chance to be at full strength, to even see what we could do,” said Miami center Chris Bosh. “Not 100%, but just at least have most of our guys. It just seems like every time we’re about to turn the corner, there’s a drawback. And it is what it is. I can’t really say anything else.”
  • The Cavaliers have recalled Joe Harris from the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This was Harris’ third jaunt of the season to the D-League. Harris has played in two games for the Charge this season, averaging 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in 39.5 minutes per game.
  • The Warriors have assigned center Festus Ezeli to the Santa Cruz Warriors, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced in a press release. Ezeli has missed the last 16 games with an ankle sprain. Golden State also announced that it has recalled Ognjen Kuzmic, who concludes his fifth sojourn of the season in Santa Cruz.
  • With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, Basketball Insiders’ Cody Taylor looked at some players whom the Hawks, Hornets, Heat, Magic, and Wizards could be willing to deal.
  • Lorenzo Brown will earn $48K from his 10-day contract with the Wolves, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). One-year veterans, like Brown, and rookies cost their teams slightly less than other players when they sign 10-day contracts, as Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors explained earlier this month.

Wizards Interested In Will Bynum

January 28 at 11:52am CST By Chuck Myron

The Wizards have joined the Cavs among the teams interested in point guard Will Bynum, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The seven-year veteran is in China with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, who haven’t lost since he joined them in early December. The regular season ends February 1st for the Tigers, but the playoffs could keep him off-limits for NBA teams until late March, Charania adds.

Bynum has put up strong numbers in China, averaging 23.2 points and 7.4 assists against 3.3 turnovers per game. The longtime Piston went to the Celtics in a preseason trade, but the Celtics waived the Mark Bartelstein client amid a roster crunch before opening night in spite of a guaranteed salary of nearly $2.916MM.

Washington has an open roster spot, and though it seems the club would prefer to use it to sign Ray Allen, for whom the Wizards are reportedly the most aggressive suitor, it’s still seems a long shot that Allen would head to the nation’s capital. Washington, just like Cleveland, is limited to handing out the prorated minimum salary to Bynum, Allen or any other free agents.

Eastern Notes: Kobe, Wizards, Durant, Lopez

January 26 at 12:59pm CST By Chuck Myron

Kobe Bryant wanted to join the Wizards more than a decade ago when Michael Jordan was with the team, Bryant acknowledged to Michael Lee of The Washington Post. While Jordan was playing with the Wizards, Bryant told him several times that he wanted to come to Washington, assuming that Jordan would again head basketball operations for the Wizards as he did before his comeback, sources tell Lee. Jordan was confident he would sign Bryant when he became a free agent in 2004, Lee hears, but the current Hornets owner never got that chance, since then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin decided against letting Jordan run the front office upon his final retirement from playing in 2003. The Wizards missed out on a star then, but they have their sights set on acquiring one a dozen years later, as we detail:

  • It’s a long shot but more than a pipe dream that the Wizards would land Kevin Durant when he hits free agency in 2016, as TNT’s David Aldridge writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. A D.C. income tax loophole would allow Durant to save more than $700K per year in tax payments if he played for the Wizards instead of the Thunder, as Aldridge explains. However, the Thunder, who hold Durant’s Bird rights, can offer better annual salary raises than the Wizards or any other team can.
  • J.R. Smith got over some initial mixed feelings about the trade that sent him from the Knicks to the Cavs and calls playing for Cleveland “the best situation for me as a person,” as he told Aldridge for the same piece. Smith has a player option worth nearly $6.4MM for next season.
  • Trade candidate Brook Lopez would prefer to stay with the Nets, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes amid his weekly power rankings.
  • Scouts, coaches and GMs at the D-League showcase were puzzled when the Sixers signed Larry Drew II, who had been playing for the Heat’s affiliate, to a 10-day contract earlier this month, as Gino Pilato of D-League Digest hears (Twitter links). Drew put up strong numbers, with 10.1 assists per game and 40.4% three-point shooting in 21 D-League appearances this year, but there were other, more intriguing prospects, Pilato believes. Drew signed his second 10-day deal with Philly earlier today.

Multiple Teams Interested In Nate Robinson

January 26 at 12:21pm CST By Chuck Myron

JANUARY 26TH: The Clips remain interested in Robinson but are looking into other deals first, a source told Spears for his weekly power rankings column.

JANUARY 23RD: The Clippers are still Robinson’s preferred free agency destination, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). Doc Rivers, Los Angeles’ president of basketball operations and coach, recently said that the team intends to use its remaining two roster spots to add veteran players next month. Robinson would certainly qualify as a veteran addition, but there have been conflicting reports regarding L.A.’s level of interest in the diminutive guard.

5:09pm: The Cavs won’t pursue Robinson beyond their initial inquiry, according to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group (Twitter link).

JANUARY 19TH, 11:55am: Robinson reached out to the Heat, but the Heat still hadn’t responded two days after the inquiry, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears. That seemingly conflicts with Spears’ report from Thursday that Miami was interested in Robinson (below).

2:12pm: USA Today’s Sam Amick suggests that the Clippers have cooled on the idea of signing Robinson (Twitter link). The situation regarding the former Slam Dunk champ is “fluid,” Amick says.

JANUARY 16TH, 7:45am: The Clippers are “running unopposed” atop Robinson’s wish list, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com.

JANUARY 15TH, 7:37pm: Washington won’t make a roster move until it knows what Ray Allen‘s plans are, J. Michael of CSNWashington.com tweets.

7:32pm: Robinson would like to play for the Wizards, but the team isn’t currently interested in his services, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post reports (Twitter link). This conflicts with Spears’ earlier report that Washington was indeed interested in Robinson’s services.

7:04pm: The Clippers are still the frontrunners to land Robinson, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets.

5:49pm: The Wizards and the Heat are also interested in Robinson, Spears tweets.

5:42pm: The Cavaliers have also expressed interest in Robinson, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).

4:18pm: The Clippers are likely to sign Robinson now that he’s reached a buyout agreement with the Celtics, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports (Twitter link).

3:33pm: The Clippers have interest in Nate Robinson, who’s agreed to a buyout deal with the Celtics, and they’d still like to sign him once they complete the Austin Rivers trade, tweets Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports suggested earlier this week that the Clippers were a possible suitor, and Bolch indicates that’s indeed the case. The Clippers had spoken with the Nuggets about acquiring the 5’9″ guard via trade before the Nuggets instead sent him to Boston this week, Wojnarowski also wrote.

Clippers president of basketball operations and coach Doc Rivers was Robinson’s coach when Robinson was with the Celtics for parts of 2009/10 and 2010/11, including Boston’s run to the 2010 NBA Finals. Robinson, whose seeing a career-low 14.1 minutes per game, reportedly wants to have a chance to showcase his talents in advance of this summer’s free agent market as well as to again play with a contender.

The Clippers would give him a crack at another title, but their backcourt is fairly crowded, with Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick in prominent roles. Backup point guard Jordan Farmar has averaged almost precisely as much playing time this year as Robinson did with the Nuggets, and Farmar has apparently been wanting more. Farmar doesn’t appear likely to head to Boston in the Austin Rivers trade, but Kings have reportedly discussed swapping Ramon Sessions for Farmar.

The Clips’ roster is at 15 players, including Dahntay Jones, whom the team signed to a 10-day contract Wednesday, though much remains up in the air. The Clippers are less than $1MM shy of the hard cap as it stands, and it’s not quite clear what they’ll relinquish in the Rivers trade and where they’ll stand in relation to that $80.829MM hard cap once the trade goes through, but they’d need roughly $450K available to sign Robinson anytime soon to a prorated minimum salary for the rest of the season.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com suggested this week that the Cavs are in the mix for Robinson, too. The Celtics have yet to officially waive Robinson, though Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders indicated Wednesday that they were waiting on Jameer Nelson to complete his physical with the Nuggets, which would put a bow on the trade that sent Robinson to Boston (Twitter link).

Chris Singleton Joins Thunder’s D-League Team

January 23 at 3:22pm CST By Chuck Myron

The D-League affiliate of the Thunder has acquired former Wizards forward Chris Singleton, the team announced. Gino Pilato of D-League Digest reported earlier this week that the former 18th overall pick was expected to sign with the D-League, so it appears that he did so and that the Oklahoma City Blue claimed him from the D-League player pool that new signees enter when they join the league. The 25-year-old remains free to sign with any NBA team.

Singleton signed with the Pacers this past offseason after hiring agent Todd Ramasar, but he failed to make the opening-night roster. The Heat were also interested, but it became clear that the Wizards no longer had him in their plans after three seasons in which he saw declining minutes per game each year.

He averaged 3.0 points per game in just 10.0 MPG across 25 appearances last season after notching 21.7 MPG in all 66 games during his lockout-shortened rookie season. The Wizards decided in the fall of 2013 to decline the fourth-year team option on his rookie scale contract, setting him up for unrestricted free agency this past summer.

Wizards Most Aggressive Suitor For Ray Allen

January 22 at 2:17pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Wizards are making numerous calls on Ray Allen and they’ve been pushing the hardest to sign the 39-year-old free agent, reports Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links). Allen is still unsure of what he’ll do this season, in spite of his hints earlier this week that he intends to return to the NBA, and while he’s working out at his home in Miami, he’s also enjoying time with his family, Kennedy cautions (on Twitter).

Washington has planned to keep up its pursuit until the Jim Tanner client gives the team a definite no, as J. Michael of CSNWashington.com wrote earlier this month. Michael described the team’s contact with Allen as “routine” and said that it was nonetheless a long shot that the sharpshooter would end up with the Wizards. Washington only has the prorated minimum salary to offer, and Allen has signaled a strong desire for more than that, but the Wizards do have an open roster spot.

LeBron James reportedly paid a recent visit to try to recruit Allen to the Cavs, who’ve seemingly been the front-runners to land him. Others from the Cavs organization have kept in contact with the league’s all-time leader in three-pointers made, too, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com wrote.

The Warriors appear to have ceased consideration of Allen, as Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group indicated overnight, but several other teams have been connected to Allen over the past several months. The Warriors were among the most recent teams to have been linked to him, a group that includes the Clippers and Grizzlies, and the Bulls and Spurs have reportedly been eyeing him, too.

And-Ones: Durant, Heat, Raptors, Bynum, Heslip

January 22 at 1:38pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Wizards seem like prime contenders for Washington native Kevin Durant when he hits free agency in 2016, but the thought of a homecoming isn’t on the reigning MVP’s mind, at least yet, as he told reporters, including Royce Young of ESPN.com.

“I’ve never thought about it, to be honest,” Durant said. “I mean, I hear it in the summertime. I heard it for the first time this summer. That’s when it started heating up. I love playing for Oklahoma City, man. There’s just a certain level of pride that I have when I play with that Oklahoma City on my chest.”

The Thunder picked up a key victory Wednesday against the Wizards as they fight to grab a playoff spot and salvage this year’s chance to win a title while Durant remains under contract. Here’s more from around the league:

  • Miami won’t re-sign Tyler Johnson to another 10-day contract, at least for the time being, a source tells Hoops Rumors. The Heat want to maximize their flexibility in case of a trade, but it’s possible that they’ll re-sign him later, perhaps as soon as a week from now, the source added. Johnson’s original 10-day pact with the Heat expired after Wednesday.
  • The Raptors had interest in Tyrus Thomas before he reached a deal to sign a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • NBA interest is growing in former Pistons point guard Will Bynum, whose Chinese team has won 22 games in a row since he joined the club last month, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Still, the Chinese Basketball Association playoffs threaten to keep him off-limits to NBA teams until March, Wojnarowski notes.
  • Wolves camp invitee Brady Heslip will sign with BC Igokea in Bosnia, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt reports (on Twitter). Gino Pilato of D-League Digest first reported that Heslip had left the D-League affiliate of the Kings, with whom he had been playing since Minnesota cut him loose (Twitter link).
  • Providence junior small forward Tyler Harris plans to enter this year’s NBA draft, sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM. Harris is the 65th-best NBA prospect among juniors, according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. Chad Ford of ESPN.com doesn’t have him within his rankings.

Eastern Notes: Alexander, Seraphin, Harris

January 21 at 6:22pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Joe Alexander has been labeled as a bust after lasting just two seasons in the league following his selection by the Bucks with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft, something that doesn’t sit too well with the player, David Pick of Basketball Insiders writes. “I don’t think there is a hard definition of what a ‘draft bust’ is,” Alexander told Pick. “Ultimately not being in the NBA is on me, but as far as ‘who is a bust?’ you have to look at Milwaukee and the management that drafted me. If you want to label anyone with the term ‘bust’ — it’s the Bucks. When Milwaukee drafted me, I was touted as a ‘project’ and someone with a lot of potential who could contribute had I learned to play the game. That’s what the Bucks told me. I needed time. I didn’t start playing basketball until I was 16 years old, but I was the most athletic guy in the entire draft. The Bucks knew that. Everyone understood this. I could’ve been drafted by any other team in the league and they would’ve given me time to develop.

While injuries definitely affected Alexander’s NBA career, he firmly believes that he was also the victim of a dysfunctional regime in Milwaukee, Pick adds. “I had a normal, mediocre NBA rookie season,” Alexander said. “If you look at my per-36 numbers, I was on par with every player in the draft except for Derrick Rose. There are players in the league who a few years ago played spotty minutes and made mistakes, but were able to learn from them. That’s an opportunity I wasn’t given in Milwaukee.”

Here’s more from the East:

  • Kevin Seraphin is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the big man would like to re-sign with the Wizards, Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders writes. “I’ve been here for five years,” Seraphin said. “For sure. For sure I’d like to be here long term, a very long time. Especially now that our team is good. Why wouldn’t I want to be here?”
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown hasn’t completely ruled out injured rookie Joel Embiid playing this season, Tom Moore of Calkins Media tweets. But Brown did add that there would be no chance of Embiid returning to the court prior to the All-Star break, Moore adds.
  • The Cavaliers have recalled Joe Harris from the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This was Harris’ first trip of the year to Canton.

Eastern Notes: Tolliver, Dawkins, Butler

January 20 at 2:07pm CST By Chuck Myron

The release of Josh Smith is easily identifiable as the turning point for the Pistons, but the acquisition of Anthony Tolliver, which took place two days later, has benefited the team, too, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic examines. The deal appears to have helped all three sides, with the Suns on a roll just as the Pistons are and Tolliver having seen an uptick in playing time since his arrival in Detroit. Tony Mitchell, the player the Pistons gave up in the deal, has found a new home after the Suns let him go, as we passed along earlier today. There’s more on the Pistons amid the latest from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics are reportedly meeting with Andre Dawkins this week as they mull signing him to a 10-day contract, but if they do, he’ll spend most if not all of his time with the C’s on D-League assignment, a league source tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com (Twitter link).
  • Retirement is far from the mind of 35-year-old Rasual Butler, who credits his time with the Thunder’s D-League affiliate in 2012/13 for his keeping his career aflame and helping spark his sudden resurgence with the Wizards this season, as he tells Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens admires the Hawks, as Julian Edlow of WEEI.com observes while wondering whether the best path the Celtics can take back to contention involves following Atlanta’s egalitarian approach instead of chasing stars.
  • The Pistons are recalling Gigi Datome and Spencer Dinwiddie from the D-League, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Datome averaged 13.3 points in 25.3 minutes per game and made 6 of 13 three-point shots in his first-ever D-League action, while Dinwiddie has put up 13.0 PPG and 5.4 assists per game in 29.8 MPG across seven D-League games this season.
  • Heat camp invitee Chris Johnson has signed with Turk Telekom Ankara of Turkey, the team announced (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). The former LSU center, who’s not to be confused with the swingman by the same name from the University of Dayton, played in China earlier this season following his release from the Heat prior to opening night.

Multiple Teams Eyeing Damion James

January 18 at 1:50pm CST By Charlie Adams

At least four teams are considering bringing aboard former Nets and Spurs forward Damion James, according to Shams Charania of RealGM, who identifies the Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, and Clippers among the teams with interest (Twitter link). The former 24th overall pick has put up impressive numbers for the Texas Legends of the D-League this season after failing to make Washington’s roster out of training camp.

James, 27, appeared in five contests for the Spurs last season. He signed a 10-day deal with San Antonio in April and inked a pact that covered the remainder of the season once his first contract was up. The 6’7″ Texas alum hasn’t been able to make much of an impact in the NBA after four strong years playing for the Longhorns.

An earlier report indicated that the Wizards have been keeping an eye on James. Washington’s roster stands at 14 players, one short of the league maximum, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see the team ink James to a 10-day contract. He was reportedly a better bet to make the team than Rasual Butler out of training camp before the veteran guard impressed Washington brass.