The Wizards have declined their option on veteran power forward Drew Gooden, making him an unrestricted free agent. The news was first reported by ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and confirmed as official in a tweet from J. Michael of CSNMidatlantic.com.
Salary-cap issues forced the Wizards to set Gooden free. Gooden’s $3.5MM salary for 2016/17 would have been guaranteed if he remained on the roster on July 15. Washington’s guaranteed payroll jumped to $96MM with the reported free agent additions of three other big men, Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson and Jason Smith.
Gooden, who turns 35 in September, has played in Washington the past three seasons. He appeared in 30 games last season, averaging 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 10.2 minutes. A calf injury was partially responsible for Gooden’s lack of playing time.
Gooden, who has been in the league since the 2002/03 season, has developed into a stretch four during the latter stages of his career. He averaged 41.2% and 39.0%, respectively, on 3-point attempts during his first two seasons with the Wizards. That dropped to 17.1% in limited action last season.