“I think he’s a core piece. To have a center that young with that kind of defensive presence, I think you saw that (in Wednesday’s opener),” Leonsis said. “People were thinking twice before coming into the lane. A couple of blocks kind of gets in their head. We haven’t had that kind of size, skill and leaping ability in a long, long time.”
Gafford’s three-year extension is worth $40.2MM.
We have more on the Wizards:
- Bradley Beal missed the team’s 135-134 overtime win over Indiana on Friday with a right hip contusion, Hughes tweets. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. is optimistic Beal will return to action on Monday at Brooklyn, according to The Associated Press.
- The franchise has a max extension offer on the table for Beal but Leonsis isn’t fretting over the fact his star player is taking a wait-and-see approach, Hughes writes in a separate story. Beal can choose to opt out after this season if he wants to seek a new opportunity or if he wants to maximize his earnings with the Wizards. “Brad and I have a very respectful, very honest relationship. … He will obviously always do what’s right for his family. We will do what’s right for the organization,” Leonsis said. “I believe — and I think he believes — that there is synergy in what’s best for him and what’s best for us. It’s not something he’s obsessing over or we’re obsessing over.”
- Key offseason addition Spencer Dinwiddie carried the team to its overtime win on Friday with 34 points and nine assists. Dinwiddie, acquired in a sign-and-trade, made several clutch 3-pointers and calls himself one of the league’s best in that department, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post writes. “Look, I get it, I’m not the sexiest name, nor do I [pretend to be] Dame [Lillard] or Steph [Curry] or none of those guys. But those things happen; the proof is in the pudding,” he said. “Like, game-winning shots, we can go on YouTube and look at mine. And if Brad’s out, I probably will be the one taking those most times, I would say.”