Washington Wizards

And-Ones: Gortat, Pelicans, Matthews, Hammon

Marcin Gortat blasted the negativity surrounding the Wizards following tonight’s last-second loss to the Raptors, tweets J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. Gortat says the poor atmosphere has taken the fun out of coming to the arena. This isn’t the first time this season that the center has talked about being unhappy. Two weeks ago, he complained about being publicly criticized by coach Randy Wittman following a loss to the Thunder. Gortat is still committed to Washington for four more seasons on the $60MM contract he signed in 2014.

There’s more from around the world of basketball:

  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry says Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole could make their season debuts Tuesday, tweets John Reid of The Times-Picayune. Evans underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October, and Cole is recovering from a high ankle sprain.
  • Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle credits offseason addition Wesley Matthews for the team’s improvement on defense, tweets Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. Carlisle says the former Blazer’s size and versatility have made a difference on that end of the floor.
  • Assistant coach Becky Hammon is playing an active role on the Spurs‘ bench, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. During a second-quarter timeout in tonight’s win over the Hawks, Vivlamore watched San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich step back and let Hammon run the huddle and diagram a play.
  • Brook Lopez‘s decision to sign a new three-year contract with the Nets tops a list of questionable moves compiled by Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. Even though he got $63MM in the deal, Lopez is locked into a terrible team during the prime years of his career. Also on Aschburner’s list are Jahlil Okafor‘s missed opportunity to tell the Sixers not to draft him, Pau Gasol‘s choice to come to the Bulls in 2014 when he could have gone to the Spurs, the Clippers‘ offseason acquisitions and Josh Smith‘s decision to leave the Rockets for L.A.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Clifford, Winslow

Coach Mike Budenholzer’s ability to sell the virtues of the Hawks organization will determine their long-term success, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com opines in a detailed look at the team’s structure and roster. While the front office appears stable, the roster could undergo major changes after the season, Arnovitz continues. Center Al Horford will enter unrestricted free agency next season, starting shooting guard Kyle Korver is in his mid-30s, center Tiago Splitter has injury issues and point guards Jeff Teague and Dennis Schroder may have trouble co-existing over the long haul, Arnovitz adds. They also haven’t adequately replaced small forward DeMarre Carroll, so Budenholzer and the front office need to show free agents that Atlanta is a desirable landing spot, Arnovitz concludes.

In other news around the Southeast Division:

  • Veteran center Al Jefferson gives a ringing endorsement to the contract extension that coach Steve Clifford received from the Hornets this week, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports. “The one thing I love about him is he keeps it real with you. He doesn’t say one thing to your face and another thing behind your back,” Jefferson told Bonnell. “He changed this whole team around from Day 1. He works harder than any head coach I’ve been around. He demands you play hard and play together.”
  • The Heat’s long-term outlook depends upon the development of rookie small forward Justise Winslow and center Hassan Whiteside, as Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports explains while taking an in-depth look at the roster. Winslow has embraced the role of defensive specialist and hasn’t been overwhelmed by the task of shadowing the opponent’s top scorer. “At this point, we’re peers,” Winslow told Lee. “I don’t put those guys on a pedestal.” Whiteside, the league’s top shot blocker, is determined to show that his breakout season a year ago wasn’t a fluke, Lee adds.
  • The Wizards’ outlook after 12 games is troubling for a team expected to make a run in the Eastern Conference, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. There has been an extraordinary amount of drama in the early going, J. Michael points out, ranging from center Marcin Gortat getting irritated at coach Randy Wittman for calling him soft to point guard John Wall brooding over his lack of shots.

2015/16 Salary Cap: Washington Wizards

The NBA’s salary cap for 2015/16 has been set at $70MM, which is an 11% increase from this past season, and the luxury tax line will be $84.74MM. The last cap projection from the league had been $67.1MM, and the projection for the tax line had been $81.6MM.

With the October 26th cutoff date to set regular season rosters now past, we at Hoops Rumors are in the process of running down the current salary cap commitments for each NBA franchise for the 2015/16 campaign. Here’s the cap breakdown for the Washington Wizards, whose regular season roster can be viewed here:

  • 2015/16 Salary Cap= $70,000,000
  • 2015/16 Luxury Tax Line= $84,740,000
  • Fully Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $81,485,782
  • Partially Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $10,000*
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary Commitments= $0
  • Total Salary Cap Commitments= $81,495,782
  • Remaining Cap Room= $11,495,782
  • Amount Below Luxury Tax Line= $3,244,218

*Note: This amount is the $10,000 in salary paid to Jaleel Roberts, who was waived by the team.

Cap Exceptions Available:

  • Non-Taxpayer’s Mid-Level Exception= $1,464,000

Cash Available to Send Out In Trades= $3,400,000

Cash Available to Receive Via Trade= $3,400,000

Last update: 11/25/15 @ 7:00pm

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Eastern Notes: Monroe, Irving, Stoudemire

Greg Monroe believes his departure from the Pistons played a role in Andre Drummond‘s ascension as the NBA’s leading per-game rebounder, as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press details. The Pistons replaced Monroe, who averaged 10.2 rebounds alongside Drummond, with trade acquisition Ersan Ilyasova, who’s averaging only 3.6.

“When you have someone you’re playing with that averages 10 rebounds, too, you’re going to get a few less rebounds,” Monroe said. “There’s a lot more rebounds available, so he’s gonna get more. It’s not surprising to me at all. He’s always had that motor. He’s always had that hunger to rebound.”

Drummond’s average on the boards has jumped from 13.5 last season to 17.6 this year. See more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Kyrie Irving is expected to return for the Cavaliers before January, a source tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). Concerns that his absence would linger into the new year existed over the summer.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire calls it a “long shot,” but he won’t rule out playing next season with Hapoel Jerusalem, the Israeli team in which he has an ownership stake, notes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Stoudemire is on a one-year deal with the Heat“I had a pretty strong 14-year career so far,’’ Stoudemire said. “Right now I’m taking it one day at a time, one season at a time. I don’t know how much time left I have as a player. I’m just cherishing the moment and try to develop the young guys.’’
  • Offseason trade addition Jared Dudley is a smaller version of Nene in many ways, observes J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. Dudley insists that Nene, a free agent at season’s end, remains an integral part of the Wizards in spite of his reduced role, as Michael relays. “Offensively, it starts with Nene,” Dudley said. “He’s the one guy [on the second unit] that can get his own shot and then we move the ball. Me being the four, when I get the ball even when I’m open sometimes it’s getting the ball side to side and getting other guys involved.”

Eastern Notes: Fournier, Embiid, Brown, Nene

Evan Fournier turned down a four-year, $32MM extension offer from the Magic before this month’s November 2nd rookie scale extension deadline, league sources told Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Orlando and the Bouna Ndiaye client reportedly never came close to a deal, and Fournier is poised for restricted free agency this summer.

“To be honest, I did not even expect to be extended,” Fournier said. “I had no pressure about that. If there was something good, I will take it. If not, I can wait until the summer. I don’t have to worry about it and make the wrong decision. I have confidence in myself and the season that I’ll have. The contract will take care of itself. You can’t go on the court and think about a deal. You must be focused and you must have the right mindset.”

Fournier doesn’t have his sights set on becoming a No. 1 option for a team, but he’s motivated to put his days as an afterthought behind him, as Charania examines. See more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Joel Embiid appears to be carrying himself with more maturity and seriousness than before, knowing he must commit to his rehabilitation, a source tells TNT’s David Aldridge, who writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. The Sixers had reportedly been concerned about his conditioning, among other worries about the former No. 3 overall pick, but he’s been keeping himself in shape, Aldridge writes. It’s a dose of positive news for the 0-14 Sixers, who remain committed to their loss-laden rebuilding plan, as Chris Crouse of Hoops Rumors wrote as he examined the team’s moves from the past several months.
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown wondered if his job was in jeopardy a year ago amid an 0-17 start for the team, but GM Sam Hinkie assured him then that he’s a major part of the plan, and the coach has earned respect within the organization for his persistence, Aldridge writes in the same piece.
  • Nene has been a starter for most of his career and has expressed disdain for playing center in the past, but so far, he’s accepted his role as backup center on the Wizards, and his team-leading 18 points Sunday helped show his value, writes Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. Nene is set for free agency at season’s end.

Eastern Notes: Harris, Stoudemire, Dudley

Despite beginning their inaugural campaign winless, the Raptors‘ D-League affiliate isn’t going to judge its success based on winning percentage, but rather by how well it develops the franchise’s young talent like Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca writes. “It’s hard because so much in professional basketball is gauged on wins and losses, and it’s just not that way here,” said Raptors 905 coach Jesse Mermuys. “That’s not the goal and so really if we start getting guys called up, then we’re having success. And if we start losing players to other teams and for some reason Lucas and Bruno are able to enter a [NBA] game this season for whatever reason and perform at a decent level, then it’s a success. We’re just going to really focus on the players, put the players’ development in the forefront. That’s a hard thing for a coach to do but I’m fully aware of it. I’m committed to it.

Here’s more from the East:

  • The Cavaliers have assigned shooting guard Joe Harris to the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will be the second jaunt of the season to Canton for Harris.
  • Heat power forward Amar’e Stoudemire has only made two appearances this season and says that keeping himself prepared for this type of role is the most difficult thing that he has had to do in his career, Ethan J. Skolnick of The Miami Herald tweets. The veteran big man inked a one-year, $1.5MM deal with Miami this past summer.
  • Jared Dudley is finally healthy and he is beginning to make an impact on the court for the Wizards, but despite the swingman being primarily known as a scorer, he’s finding other ways to contribute to the team, J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com notes. “It’s not so much scoring,” coach Randy Wittman said of Dudley. “Spacing, smart, ball movement, being in the right spot, fighting his tail off at the defensive end. I like those things that he’s done the last couple of games.

Martell Webster Out For Season

FRIDAY, 3:55pm: Webster underwent successful surgery today and he is expected to miss the remainder of the season, the Wizards announced.

11:32am: It’s usually an eight-to-10 month recovery timetable, a person with knowledge of the situation told Castillo for an updated version of his story. It was Webster who cited four to six months.

9:28am: The injury will knock him out nine to 10 months, according to J. Michael of CSNWashington.com, threatening his availability for training camp next season. The Wizards will apply for a disabled player exception, Michael adds.

WEDNESDAY, 9:14am: Wizards small forward Martell Webster will have surgery Friday on his ailing right hip and expects to miss four to six months, reports Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The news is not entirely surprising, since he told reporters last month that surgery was among the solutions in play to address the issue, which entailed a bone spur that had caused a tear in his labrum. The injury affects him financially, since he had to play in 70 games this season to bump the $2.5MM partial guarantee on his salary next season to a full guarantee of more than $5.845MM. Webster was determined to try to play through it, going so far as to use balance-correcting glasses to keep him from leaning too heavily on his right side, but he has yet to make it into a game so far this season.

“We tried everything else and I just wasn’t getting the results that I wanted,” Webster said, according to Castillo. “So I wanted to go out and get it taken care of rather than playing this season in some discomfort and then wait until the offseason to get it taken care of and then rehab the whole offseason and then try to find a rhythm come training camp. I’d rather take care of it now.”

Webster was adamant that he won’t retire because of the surgery, noting that a doctor told him that he has an 85% chance of returning to play at some point, Castillo writes. The early end of his recovery timetable would have him back by late March, though six months would likely wipe out his season.

Doctors would have to determine that Webster is likely to miss the season for Washington to be able to apply for a disabled player exception worth half of Webster’s nearly $5.614MM salary this season. The Wizards have a full 15-man roster, and Alan Anderson is out until sometime next month. Still, Washington doesn’t qualify to apply for a hardship provision of a 16th roster spot.

Eastern Notes: Knight, Porter, Jackson

Bucks coach Jason Kidd discussed why the team dealt Brandon Knight to the Suns last season, and noted that the reasoning was purely financial, with Milwaukee not wanting to have two max salary players in its backcourt, Charles F. Gardner of The Journal-Sentinel writes. “I wouldn’t say we gave up a lot,” Kidd said. “He [Knight] was having a great season, and he’s having a great season this year. But it wasn’t we gave up Brandon. We had a decision to make between our backcourt. It wasn’t Klay Thompson or Stephen Curry. We weren’t going to max out our backcourt. As an organization, we had a decision to make, and we made it.” The Bucks re-signed Khris Middleton this summer to a five-year, $70MM deal, while Knight re-signed with Phoenix for the same terms.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Wizards are gaining trust in young small forward Otto Porter, and his playing time has increased as a result, J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes. It’s Porter’s ability to do the little things as well as make his teammates around him better that has impressed the team, Michael adds. “He does a great job of pushing the pace. He’s comfortable putting the ball on the floor and making plays for other people,John Wall said of Porter. “Always going to be averaging around nine or 10 rebounds because he’s always in the right position at the right time. He’s always in helpside defense. He’s does the little things on the basketball court that people don’t get noticed for.
  • Knicks president Phil Jackson has not been more involved with the team this campaign despite his offseason statement indicating that he intended to take a more active role, notes Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. “Maybe a couple times earlier in training camp, we had some kind of sat down and talked about some things visually at the same time. So far, it’s our typical mornings-after-the-game conversations or email exchanges,” coach Derek Fisher told Bondy. “Sometimes before practice we’ll visit for a few minutes. But not really any hardcore film sessions together. Although when those opportunities do present themselves, I’ll definitely be happy to participate.
  • Joe Johnson is struggling to find other ways to help the Nets as he deals with the cumulative effects of age and injuries, and the veteran has gone from a scoring threat to more of a facilitator in the team’s offense, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com writes. “People make such a big thing about him being such a dominant scorer, but being his teammate these past two years, he’s such a willing passer.” Jarrett Jack said of Johnson. “Joe being selfless enough to make those plays and take advantage of those opportunities speaks volumes about him as a person and a player.

Eastern Notes: Gortat, Budenholzer, Zeller, Hoiberg

The WizardsMarcin Gortat is upset about being singled out by coach Randy Wittman following Tuesday’s 24-point loss to the Thunder, writes Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. Wittman angrily said that even he could get one defensive rebound in 27 minutes, as Gortat did in the blowout. “I don’t think it was necessary to call me out in the media like that,” Gortat said. “But it happened. I heard a different story in training camp, that stuff like that won’t happen. But it happened. So I disagree with what he did.” Gortat still has four seasons left on a five-year, $60MM deal he signed in 2014.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hawks released a statement this evening from coach/executive Mike Budenholzer explaining his absence from Friday’s game. On Friday morning, I returned to Atlanta from Boston to be with my family due to an emergency medical situation involving my wife,” Budenholzer wrote. “We are encouraged by her progress to this point and remain cautiously optimistic.” He promised to return to the team “as soon as possible.” Assistant Kenny Atkinson will continue to coach the team until Budenholzer returns, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The CelticsTyler Zeller, who was passed over for an extension earlier this month, is dealing with severely reduced playing time, according to Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com. Zeller has become the odd man out in Boston’s crowded frontcourt, getting just 14 minutes of court time over five games before his role was expanded in Friday’s victory over Atlanta. “Tyler’s a really good player. We just have a lot of bigs,” said coach Brad Stevens. “I don’t know how else to say it. We haven’t shot it great, so you want to play some guys that can stretch the floor and be guarded when the floor is stretched. And that leaves at least one person out.”
  • Despite a couple of disappointing losses to the Hornets and Wolves, Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf tells K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune he is completely happy with the performance of new coach Fred Hoiberg. “Fred connects with the players,” Reinsdorf said. “He connects with everyone he talks to because of his experience as a player, executive and coach at the college level.” This is Hoiberg’s first NBA coaching job after spending five years at Iowa State.

Offseason In Review: Washington Wizards

Hoops Rumors is in the process of looking back at each team’s offseason, from the end of the playoffs in June right up until opening night. Trades, free agent signings, draft picks, contract extensions, option decisions, camp invitees, and more will be covered, as we examine the moves each franchise made over the last several months.



  • None


  • Acquired the draft rights to Kelly Oubre Jr. (No. 15 overall) from the Hawks in exchange for the draft rights to Jerian Grant (No. 19 overall) and Washington’s 2016 and 2019 second round picks.
  • Acquired Jared Dudley from the Bucks in exchange for Washington’s 2020 second round pick (top-55 protected).

Waiver Claims

  • None

Draft Picks

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

The last two seasons for the Wizards have ended with the team ousted in the second round of the playoffs, which raises legitimate concerns about the current state of their roster as well as the overall direction of the franchise. The window of contention can be fleeting in the NBA, and Washington is in danger of remaining stuck in the difficult position of being good enough to make the playoffs, but not necessarily talented enough to advance to the Conference Finals and beyond.

After what was a rather low-key offseason, the team returns the bulk of its core from 2014/15, with the most significant change being the departure of Paul Pierce, who opted to sign a three year deal worth approximately $10MM with the Clippers. While Pierce is no longer the player that he was in his heyday with Boston, he certainly provided the team with a strong veteran presence, and he was a reliable clutch performer. For that, he will surely be missed. But now that Pierce has departed, it opens the door for Otto Porter, the No. 3 overall selection in the 2013 NBA draft, to step up and prove his value to the club. The Wizards predictably exercised Porter’s fourth-year rookie option, giving him two seasons to establish himself as a player in the league, and as a part of the Wizards’ rotation, in advance of his next contract.

The franchise spent the bulk of the summer looking ahead, not to the 2015/16 season, but rather the summer of 2016, which is when Washington, D.C., native Kevin Durant is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. While this tactic may end up making this season seem like a bit of an afterthought for the team, it will certainly be looked back on as an extremely wise plan if Durant does indeed end up with the Wizards. A trio of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Durant would instantly become one of the most electric offensive units in the league, and that dream is certainly worth chasing for the team and its fans.

A key facet of the Wizards’ plan to snare Durant is the timing of when the team inks Beal to a new contract. The 22-year-old was eligible to sign a rookie scale extension prior to this year’s November 2nd deadline, but no deal was worked out, and the franchise opted for cap flexibility rather than the security of knowing the up-and-coming shooting guard was locked down for the long-term. The shooting guard believes he is worth the maximum salary, and Washington fully intends to re-sign Beal for the max next summer, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News wrote.

With Beal not signing an extension, the Mark Bartelstein client will be able to negotiate with other teams next summer when he becomes a restricted free agent, but the Wizards can match any offer sheet he might agree to. Beal could also take the drastic, and unlikely, step of signing his qualifying offer, which would be worth approximately $7.471MM, but that would represent a significant discount from his projected maximum salary of $20.4MM. Beal had gone on record saying that he was confident about working out a deal with the Wizards before the extension deadline but would be OK with either outcome, and he has no desire to play for another team, as he told Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports.

The Wizards are apparently using the same strategy that the Spurs employed with Kawhi Leonard that allowed them to sign LaMarcus Aldridge this past offseason, and one that the Pistons and Andre Drummond are also pursuing. Both franchises had decided against extensions for their young stars in an effort to preserve cap flexibility for next summer. Beal’s cap hold for the coming offseason will be $14.2MM, and that number will remain on the team’s books until the two sides sign a new contract. If the team had signed Beal to a max extension prior to the deadline, it would have added roughly an additional $6MM to Washington’s cap figure, a significant impediment if the team hopes to land Durant and supplement its roster with a respectable supporting cast. Now, thanks to Beal remaining unsigned, the Wizards could sign other free agents next summer via cap space and then use Bird rights to re-sign Beal or to match an offer sheet for him.

The franchise didn’t completely ignore this year’s squad, signing combo guard Gary Neal and swingman Alan Anderson to one-year, team friendly deals. While both players are solid veterans who provide the team with depth, neither are game-changers for the Wizards. Anderson has yet to play during the regular season, thanks to undergoing a procedure late in training camp to address a nagging issue in his left ankle. The swingman is expected to be out until December and may have already lost his expected spot in the rotation thanks to the strong early play of Porter, though Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post told us that it’s more likely Anderson takes over the minutes that Garrett Temple and Kelly Oubre Jr. are seeing.

Washington also attempted to compensate for the loss of Pierce with the acquisition of Jared Dudley from the Bucks in exchange for a heavily protected 2020 second-round pick, and with Oubre, the No. 15 overall pick in this year’s NBA draft. Dudley was a wise addition, with the veteran certainly capable of providing solid minutes if he can remain healthy. Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld also made a solid move in acquiring Oubre’s draft rights from the Hawks in exchange for two future second-rounders and the No. 19 overall pick. Oubre is a project who will take some time to develop, but he also possesses lottery-level talent, and he could evolve into a two-way force if the front office and the coaching staff show proper patience.

Washington is a franchise with enough talent to be a factor in the Eastern Conference this season, though the team likely doesn’t have enough firepower to beat the Cavaliers without a generous amount of good fortune coming its way. That’s a major reason why the franchise is anxiously awaiting its shot at luring Durant, whose presence alongside Wall and Beal would instantly make the Wizards a force to be reckoned with. The danger is in focusing too much on Durant, who isn’t necessarily going to depart Oklahoma City, and not doing all that it can to upgrade the roster this season.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

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