Month: April 2024

Wizards Waive Martell Webster

11:56am: Webster’s release is official, the team announced.

“Martell, with his contributions on the court and ability to connect with the fans and the community off the court, has been a great example of the type of player we want to represent our organization,” Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld said. “He worked extremely hard to fight through his injuries but unfortunately was not able to make a healthy return. We appreciate everything he contributed to the team and wish him and his family nothing but the best.”

9:42am: The Wizards plan to waive Martell Webster, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The move clears a roster spot for the team to sign Ryan Hollins, a pending transaction that Charania reported overnight. Webster is out for the season with a hip injury. His salary is fully guaranteed for $5.6135MM this season and partially guaranteed for $2.5MM next year, the final year of his contract. Washington will have to pay both unless another team claims him off waivers, though a claim would be a highly unlikely outcome. Webster would have been in line for a full guarantee on his salary worth more than $5.845MM next season if he’d have played in at least 70 games this season, but he’s already missed too many.

Webster said when he elected to have surgery on his right hip that it would knock him out for four to six months, a timetable that might have him back in time for the end of the season. Other reports indicated that recovery could take as long as 10 months, and the Wizards ultimately announced that they expected him to miss the entire season. The small forward whose 29th birthday is this week had employed balance-correcting glasses and other measures in an ill-fated attempt to try to rehabilitate the hip without surgery.

Injuries have long plagued the former sixth overall pick, though he missed a total of only 10 regular season games his first two seasons with Washington, in 2012/13 and 2013/14. That changed last season, when he missed 50, and he appeared only once in the 2015 playoffs. Still, he’s no longer pondering retirement as he did a year ago. He averaged 9.7 points in 27.7 minutes per game with 39.2% 3-point shooting in 2013/14, his last healthy season.

Do you think Webster can return from injury next season to play a significant role for another NBA team? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

NBA Grants Disabled Player Exception To Wizards

The NBA has granted the Wizards a disabled player exception to offset the loss of Martell Webster to a season-ending hip surgery, a source tells Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post (Twitter link). J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com reported when Webster elected to undergo the hip procedure that the team would apply for the exception, which is worth $2,806,750, precisely half of Webster’s salary.

The Wizards can use it to sign a player to a contract that pays up to that amount and that covers the rest of the season, but they can’t use it for any multiyear arrangement. Alternatively, they can claim a player off waivers who’s on an expiring contract for that amount or less. They may also trade for a player on an expiring contract who’s making as much as $2,906,750, which is $100K more than half of Webster’s salary.

Washington is not using its disabled player exception to sign Ryan Hollins, since he’s reportedly set to make the minimum salary, and the team can simply use the minimum salary exception for that. Instead, the disabled player exception is a tool the team can use to acquire another player between now and March 10th, when it expires. The Wizards already had a $1.464MM sliver of the mid-level exception they could use to sign players for more than the minimum, so they have more flexibility to upgrade their roster than many other teams do.

Still, whether they use the disabled player exception, the mid-level exception or the minimum-salary exception to sign a player other than Hollins, it’ll require a corresponding move, since the substitution of Hollins for Webster, whom the team intends to waive, will keep Washington at the maximum 15 players. The disabled player exception doesn’t grant an extra roster spot the way the hardship provision does. The Wizards haven’t officially waived Webster yet, but once they do, they’ll still be able to use the disabled player exception.

Still have questions about how the disabled player exception works for the Wizards? Leave a comment and we’ll provide answers as best we can.

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Porzingis, Brown, Ross

Jahlil Okafor addressed his recent off-court trouble with a statement on Twitter that pointed the finger at himself (All four Twitter links). The Sixers rookie has overshadowed his strong early-season play with transgressions that made tabloid headlines.

“I hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else ever could and I’m not proud of some of my decisions over the last few months,” Okafor wrote. “I own my choices both personally and now publicly. At this point I am cooperating and respecting the process I have to go through. Going forward I don’t want to be a distraction for my team and am grateful for the support and guidance those close to me are giving. I am 100% focused on my responsibility to the League, my teammates and fans.”

See more on this year’s No. 3 overall pick amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:

More Reaction To Kobe Bryant’s Retirement Plans

The finality of Kobe Bryant‘s decision to make this season his last dates back to this past summer, when he reached out to Michael Jordan to tell him, “This is it,” as Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com relays.

“We had some laughs, went back and forth about it,” Bryant said to reporters about his conversation with Jordan. “But the important thing for him, he said, ‘Just enjoy it. No matter what, just enjoy it. Don’t let anybody take that away from you, no matter what happens, good or bad. Enjoy it, man.'” 

Bryant is enjoying even the difficult parts of the experience, telling reporters that he’s not considering a midseason retirement “because there is really beauty in the pain of this thing,” tweets Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. We rounded up some of the early reaction Sunday, and now see more as the countdown begins for Bryant’s final game, scheduled to come at home against the Jazz on April 13th:

  • The idea that this season would be Bryant’s last is no shock, as Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak reiterated that it’s been his understanding for a while that this would be the end, Holmes notes in a separate piece. The executive admits that it’s less than ideal for Bryant to play his final season on a losing team, but said “there was really no other way to go about it,” as Holmes relays. “Now we were hopeful that we would get off to a better start this year,” Kupchak said in part. “We think we added a couple veterans, along with a bunch of young players, and I thought we’d be better than two wins into the season. That’s not to say that we’d be on pace to win 50 or 60 games. But I thought we’d be a little bit better. But clearly we’re not playing at the kind of level that a player of Kobe’s age and experience finds challenging.”
  • Former Lakers teammate Sasha Vujacic, who’s now playing for the Knicks, isn’t quite sure that Bryant is really in his final season, notes Howie Kussoy of the New York Post“He’ll be bored with retirement, so he might come back,” Vujacic said. “You never know … He can always come back.”
  • Dwight Howard complimented Bryant on Sunday, calling him “one of the greatest to play the game” and citing his “amazing career,” but he couldn’t keep a straight face when asked if he learned something from the legendary shooting guard, observes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Howard, who famously failed to mesh with Bryant during their lone season as teammates, laughed for five seconds before asking for the next question, as Bondy details.

Kobe Bryant To Retire After Current Season

6:00pm: Kobe Bryant announced that this will be his final season in a letter published in The Players’ Tribune.

“This season is all I have left to give,” Bryant writes. “My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports Images

Kelvin Kuo/USA Today Sports Images

Bryant, 37, is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time, but injuries in recent seasons have taken a toll on the superstar’s body, as he alludes to in his letter. Bryant has spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers. He has won five NBA championships and earned MVP honors in 2008.

The news does not come as a surprise and confirms widespread speculation that this would be his final season. What’s more, according to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, Bryant signaled to the organization that this would be the end of his storied career back in the spring. Kupchak then publicly said on multiple occasions that the Lakers expected Bryant to retire.

Bryant, 37, in the final year of a two-year deal that will pay him $25MM this season, entered Sunday’s game against the Pacers averaging 15.7 points per game on a career-worst 31.5% shooting percentage. Bryant remains the NBA’s highest-paid player. Not including endorsements, Bryant earned $303,238,062 in his career, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

Bryant’s field goal percentage and 3-point percentage both rank last in the NBA among qualified players. Despite his struggles, the Lakers have publicly supported Bryant and coach Byron Scott said the future Hall of Famer would not be benched. “I would never, never, never do that,” Scott told the media after practice on Friday. “That’s not an option whatsoever. No, that’s not an option.”

Bryant was drafted out of high school by the Hornets with the 13th overall pick in 1996 but was traded to the Lakers.  He currently is third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 11/29/15

The standings in both conferences after one month look somewhat strange for a few teams. In the Eastern Conference, the Bucks and Wizards are both disappointing. Those teams were picked by many to make the playoffs, but are currently — and surprisingly — on the outside looking in. Over in the Western Conference, the Rockets and Pelicans both can be found near the bottom of the standings.

Obviously, some offseason moves will pan out and some won’t for a variety of reasons, but it’s a bit early to start declaring “hits” and “misses.” With that in mind, teams that were picked to contend that are currently struggling should theoretically be able to turn things around. However, most of the aforementioned teams have few weaknesses and a trade that would fill any small holes and would expedite such a process.

The Bucks have the potential to swing a trade, fix what is not working and get back on track. It’s obvious that Milwaukee is lacking its defensive edge from last season. With Greg Monroe, the Bucks can win now and are still built for the future (they own their future first round picks). It wouldn’t take much to turn things around this season; perhaps acquiring someone who can help defensively on the interior would do the trick.

Here’s the question for today: Which struggling team would benefit the most with a trade and why?

Being mindful of our commenting policy, let us know in the comments section below what you think. We look forward to learning about what you have to share.

And-Ones: Kaminsky, Draft, Warriors

Hornets owner Michael Jordan liked the experience Frank Kaminsky received as a four-year player at Wisconsin and the team has been satisfied with the rookie’s progress so far, Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel relays.

“After summer league, you could see what he could become,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “Particularly on the defensive end, he’s made such great strides. I think Michael’s big point about him is that so much of the draft now are guys that are freshmen. Frankly, when you’re watching a lot of the college tape, the difficult challenge of the draft is they’re good players, but even on their college teams they’re the third or fourth-best guy.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • LSU freshman Ben Simmons, a point forward, who is listed at 6’10″ and 225 pounds, is already gaining traction as a favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. Simmons, who is projected to play small forward in the NBA, is averaging 16.2 points, 14.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.4 blocks through his first five games this season, as Kennedy notes.
  • Harrison Barnes will be out at least one week after spraining his left ankle, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group details. The Warriors determined Barnes did not suffer a fracture, Leung adds.
  • Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, whom the Pistons exercised their team option on  for the 2016/17 season last month, continues to earn major minutes because of his defensive ability, David Mayo of MLive.com writes.

Hoops Links: Whiteside, Warriors, Porzingis

Every Sunday, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Then you should send it to us at HoopsLinks@gmail.com. Here’s this week’s rundown…

Please send submissions for Hoops Links to Zach at HoopsLinks@gmail.com.

Reactions To Kobe Bryant’s Plan To Retire

Lakers coach Byron Scott told reporters, including Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Twitter link), that he was the first person Kobe Bryant told about the superstar’s plan to retire after this season. Scott said Bryant informed him on Saturday. Scott reiterated that Bryant plans to play the rest of the season, Mike Trudell of Lakers.com tweets.

Here’s more news, notes and reactions on Bryant’s announcement:

  • Scott also told reporters that he believes Bryant had at least one more year in him, Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com relays (on Twitter). Bryant, 37, is averaging 15.7 points per game on a career-worst 31.5% shooting percentage (heading into action Sunday).
  • Bryant notified the Lakers of his intentions to retire on Sunday, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register tweets. Bryant’s decision comes across as a strategic one because it turns attention away from the dissection of his statistics, and it comes before a home game and then a game at his native Philadelphia, Oram also notes on Twitter.
  • USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told Marc Stein of ESPN.com that Bryant remains in contention for a spot with the USA Basketball team in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics (Twitter link). Bryant said earlier this month that he would be thrilled to play for USA Basketball. Bryant won gold medals the past two Olympics.
  • Stein also relays on Twitter that Bryant previously told him he has no plans to play a season overseas.
  • Bryant believes the next chapter of his life will revolve around telling stories in various media forms, he told Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press before making his announcement.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement regarding Bryant’s decision. “With 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP, five NBA championships with the Lakers, two Olympic gold medals and a relentless work ethic, Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game,” Silver said. “Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game. I join Kobe’s millions of fans around the world in congratulating him on an outstanding NBA career and thank him for so many thrilling memories.”

Eastern Notes: Carter-Williams, Heat, Raptors

Michael Carter-Williams, whom the Bucks acquired last season in a trade, has struggled mightily and was therefore not surprised he was benched Sunday, Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel relays.

“The past couple games my play has been down,” Carter-Williams said. “If I’m a coach, I wouldn’t start me, either. Whatever minutes I get, I’m going to come in and try to help the team, cheer from the bench and try to cheer my teammates on. I know it’s hard right now. I think things will get better.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Heat‘s commitment to Gerald Green, who signed a one-year deal with Miami during the summer, shows that the next veteran who accepts a minimal free agent deal with the team also has the opportunity for a significant role, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes in his mailbag feature. Green has played well in nine appearances, averaging 10.4 points per game.
  • The Magic started a rebuilding process when Orlando traded Dwight Howard in 2012, but even now the question remains of who will still be on the team when it is ready to compete for the playoffs, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel details. The Magic, as Robbins points out, have a group of talented young players such as Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Tobias Harris, Mario Hezonja, Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton and Nik Vucevic. Yet, according to Robbins, it remains to be seen if the Magic can successfully dip into the free agent pool to add to their nucleus.
  • The Heat announced they have recalled forward/center Jarnell Stokes from their D-League affiliate. He averaged 23 points and 9.7 rebounds in three games with the the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
  • The Raptors recalled Delon Wright and forward Bruno Caboclo from their D-League affiliate, the team announced via Twitter.