Jodie Meeks

Wizards’ Jodie Meeks Exercises Player Option

Wizards shooting guard Jodie Meeks has opted in for the 2018/19 season, exercising the second-year player option on his contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

[RELATED: NBA Player Option Decisions for 2018/19]

Meeks’ option is worth $3,454,500, though he won’t earn that full amount since he still has to serve the remaining 19 games on his 25-game suspension. The veteran sharpshooter received the 25-game ban at the end of the regular season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy. As a result, he sat out the Wizards’ six-game playoff series against Toronto.

The league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for a player who receives a suspension of 20 or more games to forfeit 1/110th of his salary per game. As such, Meeks’ 2018/19 salary will be reduced by nearly $600K.

[RELATED: Five Key Offseason Questions: Washington Wizards]

Meeks, 30, signed a two-year contract with the Wizards last summer, as the team hoped he could provide some outside shooting off the bench following Bojan Bogdanovic‘s departure. While Meeks was a regular rotation piece throughout the season, averaging 14.5 MPG in 77 contests, he struggled a little with his three-point shot. His 0.9 threes per game and .343 3PT% were the lowest marks he had posted since his rookie season.

Meeks is the second Wizards to pick up a player option this offseason, with Jason Smith also exercising his $5.45MM option. Combined with Washington’s guaranteed contracts, those options take the club’s total team salary above $124MM for next season. A taxpaying team in 2017/18, the Wizards will likely have to trim some salary to avoid being in the tax again in 2018/19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

John Wall Displeased With Wizards’ Roster?

Fresh off a loss to the Raptors in Game 6 of the First Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, Wizards’ point guard John Wall spoke at length on Saturday about changes he’d like to see to the Wizards’ roster next season, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. When asked what type of players should be added to the roster, Wall pulled no punches, yet was quick to assure that his postseason evaluation was not directed at any particular teammates.

“There’s a lot that we can use. I really don’t have to say certain positions. There are certain things that people who have been around the team understand what we could use to help our team. It’s not throwing shade to anybody that is on our team because everyone that is on our roster gave everything they have to make it work and fit with the team, but at the same time, when it’s not working and then you try and you try and you try and it keeps failing over and over, then you have to make certain adjustments and certain changes.”

Wall further elaborated, telling reporters he is in support of the Wizards bringing in an “athletic big”, which could of course be interpreted as a slight at Marcin Gortat, who clashed with Wall when Wall was injured earlier this season, and little-used big man Ian Mahinmi who, in hindsight, was grossly overpaid in the spend-happy summer of 2016. Combined, Gortat and Mahinmi will make just north of $29.5MM next season.

Unfortunately for the Wizards, adding worthwhile free agents this offseason, per Wall’s imploring, will be no easy task. Washington already has nearly $116MM tied up in guaranteed contracts for 2018/19, not counting player options for Jason Smith and Jodie Meeks. Should both players opt in, the Wizards payroll would reach $124.8MM – $1.8MM more than next year’s projected luxury tax threshold of $123MM and nearing the apron – before free agency even begins.

Given that the $124.8MM figure only includes 10 players, the Wizards best tool will likely be their taxpayer mid-level exception, which is projected to be about $3.3MM less than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception and limited to three seasons rather than four. Players looking to cash in on a MLE deal this offseason stand to make about an additional $19.2MM over the life of a non-taxpayer MLE contract, thereby lessening the Wizards’ chances of luring meaning free agents to the nation’s capital this summer. For his part, Wall thinks players should nevertheless entertain the idea of coming to Washington.

“I think those guys that are watching and seeing understand what they can add and what we might need to make our team better to finally get over the second round or get through the first round like we didn’t this year.”

Wizards Notes: Gortat, Porter, Oubre, Meeks, More

Bradley Beal and John Wall expressed a belief near the start of the 2017/18 season that the Wizards were the team to beat in the East, but the club ultimately finished eighth in the conference, and lasted just six games in the postseason. After their early exit from the playoffs, the Wizards are left searching for answers about what went wrong over the course of the season, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington details. Hughes spoke to Beal, Markieff Morris, and Ian Mahinmi about the club’s shortcomings, with Mahinmi noting that roster continuity didn’t really pay off for Washington in ’17/18.

“When you’re talking about continuity, it’s supposed to be better. You expect better. I feel like we didn’t do better than last year,” Mahinmi said. “It’s hard. I love those guys, but we have our issues. Unless we work those issues out, we’re gonna continue to struggle at times. We’re gonna continue to not be consistent. We definitely have to have good communication this summer. Before looking elsewhere we have look at each other and be honest.

“I feel like we might not have identified the real issues,” Mahinmi added.

As the Wizards look to identify their “real issues,” here are a few more notes out of D.C….

  • Wizards center Marcin Gortat, never shy about sharing what’s on his mind, implored teammates Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre Jr. to spend the offseason bulking up, per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. “Skill-set wise, [Porter]’s unbelievable. He’s got everything. He can rebound. He can shoot the ball. He can post up. He can pass. He can definitely defend, if he’s healthy,” Gortat said. “As I told him and I told Kelly, they’ve both got to improve in the weight room. They’ve got to get into the weight room.”
  • Asked if he’d work on improving his shooting range in the offseason, Gortat dismissed the idea that he needs to modernize his game by shooting three-pointers, as Buckner relays. “I truly believe I’m a solid, good shooter up to 15, 17 feet. But I’m not going to shoot threes,” Gortat said. “No, I’m not going to do that. I want to go into the paint. Body people. Be physical. Get scratches. Bleed. That’s how I made a living in for 11 years, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to pop on the three-point line and shoot threes. I’m not going to do that. I’ve got one more year left. I’m going to try to play as best as I can.”
  • The Wizards’ front office will have its work cut out for it this offseason as it looks to improve the roster, ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes in an Insider-only piece. Marks wonders if Washington has enough confidence in Oubre to consider the possibility of trading Porter, and notes that Gortat and Morris will be entering the last year of their respective contracts.
  • In a pair of tweets, Marks breaks down how Jodie Meekssuspension will affect his earnings and the Wizards’ tax bill. As Marks observes, Washington will be on the hook for approximately $7MM in tax payments for 2017/18.
  • Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com takes a closer look at Ty Lawson‘s unexpected return to an NBA rotation role for the playoffs. Lawson spent the season in China before signing with the Wizards on the last day of the NBA regular season.

Wizards’ Jodie Meeks Faces 25-Game Suspension

2:01pm: Meeks has issued a statement to ESPN indicating that he’s surprised by his suspension and intends to fight it, as Wojnarowski relays.

“Because I have never used a drug of any kind I am absolutely heartbroken and perplexed with the news today,” Meeks said in his statement. “Let me clear: I have never taken anything whatsoever for a performance-enhancing reason. I respect the game of basketball too much.

“I look forward to exercising my rights under the (NBA’s) collective bargaining agreement to bring this matter to arbitration and to clear my name in relation to this wrongful accusation.”

12:25pm: The NBA will suspend Wizards sharpshooter Jodie Meeks for 25 games for violating the league’s anti-drug program, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Barring an unexpectedly lengthy postseason run for Washington, the ban will keep Meeks out of action until sometime in the 2018/19 season.

Meeks tested positive for two banned compounds, Ipamorelin and Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2, sources told Wojnarowski. The veteran guard intends to fight the suspension, lawyer Ben Levine told Wojnarowski.

“It is regrettable that the NBA has prematurely taken action against Jodie today,” Levine said. “Accordingly, we will appeal the suspension and vigorously defend Jodie’s rights. Unfortunately, under the CBA, a player is guilty until proven innocent and while Jodie’s appeal is pending he will be forced to sit out the playoffs.”

Meeks, 30, was a regular contributor off the Wizards’ bench this season, averaging 6.3 PPG on .399/.343/.863 shooting in 77 games (14.5 MPG). Washington will have to look elsewhere to fill those minutes during the club’s first-round series against the top-seeded Raptors.

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, the suspension will cost Meeks just shy of $30K per game during the postseason, with the Wizards picking up about $22K per game in tax savings. Meeks would serve the remaining games on the suspension to open the 2018/19 season. Assuming he exercises his $3.5MM player option to stick with the Wizards, Meeks would lose about $31K per game via the suspension next season, Marks notes.

Per the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, most suspensions only cost a player 1/145th of his annual salary per game, but bans that exceed 20 games – like Meeks’ – cost the player 1/110th of his salary per game.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Washington Wizards

The Wizards made the bold decision to commit max money to three organization grown players long-term and will permanently have their hands full managing their finances as a result. In order to make the strategy work, they’ll need to be responsible with where they spend the rest of their budget.

While the club already projects to dip into the luxury tax this season and next (with over $29MM in guaranteed money tied up in Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi in 2018/19 alone), they’ll get a chance to practice financial restraint this summer with a handful of free agents that they can afford to part ways with if they feel the need to.

Tim Frazier, PG, 27 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $4.1MM deal in 2016
One season removed from a fantastic stint as a spot starter in New Orleans in 2016/17, Frazier hasn’t had much of an impact since coming over in a draft day trade last June. The Wizards were in need of a reliable backup point guard when they targeted Frazier but seem to have grown comfortable with the idea of Tomas Satoransky handling backup point guard duties in John Wall‘s absence. For that reason, Frazier will probably have to choose between rounding out the club’s rotation as a third-string playmaker or look elsewhere.

Sheldon Mac, SG, 25 (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $1.8MM deal in 2016
A torn Achilles has rendered Mac unable to suit up in 2017/18. He’ll hit restricted free agency in the summer but don’t expect any suitors until he can prove that he’s healthy enough to battle for a rotation spot. That’ll likely have to happen in the G League.

Chris McCullough, PF, 23 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $3,8MM deal in 2015
The Wizards, to this point, have shown little interested in working McCullough into their rotation. The 23-year-old showed some flashes of promise during his rookie campaign with the Nets in 2015/16 but then again many fringe NBA players have looked half-decent in Brooklyn’s lineup the last few years. If all goes well, McCullough will find another squad to break training camp with next fall. It’s hard to say whether or not there will be much more beyond that.

Jodie Meeks, SG, 30 (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $6.7MM deal in 2017
After several years of struggling to stay on the court, Meeks has shown that he can contribute modestly off the bench. While his player option for 2018/19 comes in at a rather cheap $3.5MM for a player with his experience, don’t be surprised if the veteran elects to return. There may be a team out there willing to give the career .417 three-point shooter more than that on the open market but an argument can be made that Meeks could benefit more in the long run from simply focusing on staying healthy and relevant where he is, while worrying about free agency in 2019.

Mike Scott, PF, 29 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.7MM deal in 2017
The Wizards got a key rotation piece for dirt cheap over the summer and the forward has done nothing but raise his stock over the course of the season. Expect teams to take an interest in the veteran role player with impressive efficiency numbers and the ability to put points on the board. Washington would likely be happy to retain him but will be limited in what they can offer him.

Jason Smith, C, 32 (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $15.7MM deal in 2016
Smith hit free agency at the perfect time back in 2016. This summer, in contrast, teams won’t be so willing to cough up significant money for career reserves with forgettable portfolios. Smith’s stints with the Magic, Knicks and Pelicans hardly justified the contract he signed two summers ago but he’s done even less since arriving in Washington. For that reason, expect him to accept his $5.5MM player option.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Notes: Waiters, Hawks, Meeks

When Dion Waiters hurt himself last March he had the option to pursue a surgical treatment that would have sidelined him for eight to 10 months, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes. The Heat guard, and at that point pending free agent, opted against going under the knife to repair his ankle and instead has been strengthening it and undergoing treatment.

Winderman stresses that Waiters only brought up the injury when asked at the Heat’s media day on Wednesday but admitted that some days are better than others.

I’ll get four or five treatments every day,” Waiters, who re-signed with the Heat this summer, said. “Some days you’re going to feel great, some days it might be just one of them days. You have to push through it and be smart about the whole situation.

In 46 games with the Heat last season, Waiters averaged 15.8 points per game. This year his contract will pay an additional $1.1MM if the guard stays on the court for 70 games, one of several incentives built into contracts that Miami extended this offseason.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • On the verge of what could be his first full season since 2014/15, Wizards guard Jodie Meeks is eager to show that he can still contribute to an NBA team. “Just because I want to show that I’m healthy,” Meeks told Candace Buckner of the Washington Post. “I’m not old and washed up or whatever you want to call it.
  • A hamstring injury will sideline Hornets forward Treveon Graham, the team’s PR department tweets. Graham is one of five players on non-guaranteed deals hoping to make the team’s opening day roster.
  • The Hawks will receive $100K for taking DeAndre Liggins‘ deal off of the Clippers’ hands, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. We wrote about the September 25 deal here.

Southeast Notes: Waiters, Wade, Meeks, Magic

Dion Waiters is for all intents and purposes the man who replaced Dwyane Wade as the Heat‘s shooting guard in Miami. After inking a four-year, $52MM pact recently, he will be the franchise’s immediate fixture in the lineup and the community. Yet, if Waiters has his way, Wade will eventually join him back home in Miami, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes.

Waiters, 25, came into his own with the Heat in 46 games last season, averaging 15.8 PPG and 4.3 APG while playing over 30 minutes per game. As Waiters tells Jackson, he’s admired Wade from afar and made his desire to learn from the longtime Heat legend this offseason.

“We’ve got the same initials, our games are similar,” Waiters said. “Difference is, he’s got them three rings. He’s a Finals MVP. Top three best shooting guards all time. I’m chasing that. He’s one of my favorite players, one of the players I idolized my game after. When he’s playing against me, I’m checking things he’s doing.”

Wade, 35,  has an option for $24MM for 2017/18 but the Bulls are not interesting in pursuing a buyout at this time. If Wade does end up on the open market, a reunion with the Heat seems like a possibility and one that Waiters — whose social media has hinted at his desire to play with Wade —  would be rooting for.

Here are additional notes surrounding the Southeast Division:

  • When picking a destination this offseason, Jodie Meeks knew playing alongside John Wall and under head coach Scott Brooks was an appealing scenario, CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Chase Hughes writes. The Wizards won 49 games last season and with a productive, young core in the nation’s capital, Meeks will have a chance to be part of a winning team next season.
  • Magic president Jeff Weltman told media in a recent Q and A that his team is still looking for shooting upgrades, per Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter).

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Crawford, Mack

The Hornets have taken significant steps forward this offseason but one of the big questions heading into the 2017/18 campaign will be whether wings Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nicolas Batum will be able to thrive together.

In a recent mailbag, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tackled the question arguing that the lanky pair help the squad more than hinder them. Bonnell refers to the Hornets’ defensive woes as the major culprit for Charlotte’s disappointing 2016/17 campaign, saying that taking Kidd-Gilchrist out of the picture would only make matters worse.

Bonnell does add, however, that the Hornets would be wise to feature rookie Malik Monk as soon as he’s able to prove that he’s reasonably competent on the defensive end. If he slots in at the two, Batum could then slide up to the three.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hawks acquired Jamal Crawford in the three-way deal that sent Danilo Gallinari to the Clippers and immediately began pursuing a buyout with the 36-year-old veteran. Exact details of the buyout are not yet known but Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that the guard’s cap hit will be around $11MM in 2017/18.
  • There’s no disputing Shelvin Mack‘s track record of success, he suited up for the 60-win Hawks of 2014/15 and served a valuable role for the 2016/17 Jazz squad that climbed back to relevance. According to John Denton of Orlando’s official website, the former Butler Bulldog thinks that even the Magic can be winners in the immediate future.
  • After a breakout 2013/14 campaign in which he filled in admirably for an injured Kobe Bryant, Jodie Meeks has posted three forgettable, injury-plagued seasons. Now a member of the Wizards, the soon-to-be 30-year-old is ready to reset and start anew. “I came back from my thumb at the end of the season,” he told Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I played okay and finished out the season healthy. This summer I got some rest. Now I’m working out again and I feel fine.
  • After riding the pine for the Wizards in 2016/17, Sheldon Mac and Daniel Ochefu have taken noticeable steps forward, Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic writes.

Jodie Meeks Signs Two-Year Deal With Wizards

July 12, 4:10pm: The signing is official, according to NBA.com.

JULY 2, 11:38am: The Wizards have added some more outside shooting to their roster, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). League sources tell Charania that Washington has reached an agreement with veteran free agent Jodie Meeks, who will sign a two-year, $7MM contract.Jodie Meeks vertical

Meeks has seen his last two seasons derailed by injuries, having appeared in just 39 total games for the Pistons and Magic since the start of the 2015/16 campaign. However, he was an effective outside threat for Orlando when he suited up last year, averaging 9.1 PPG on 40.9% three-point shooting.

According to Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post (Twitter link), the Wizards will sign Meeks using their bi-annual exception. The BAE can be used for deals worth up to $6,744,500 over two years, so that makes sense. However, using that exception would limit the Wizards to a hard cap of $125.266MM for the 2017/18 league year.

Washington has about $94MM in guaranteed salaries on its books prior to adding Meeks or re-signing Otto Porter, so if the team intends to match a max offer for Porter, that hard cap could become a problem. If the Wizards instead opt to use a portion of their taxpayer mid-level exception to complete the Meeks signing, the team wouldn’t be subject to a hard cap.

The addition of Meeks probably doesn’t bode well for Bojan Bogdanovic‘s return to the Wizards. Meeks figures to fill a similar role in Washington, and Bogdanovic will likely be able to land a better offer from another club, with the Wizards focusing on Porter.

Since the offseason began, the Wizards have now traded for Tim Frazier and committed to sign Meeks in an effort to bolster one of the NBA’s lowest-scoring benches.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southeast Notes: Meeks, Porter, Reed, Magic

The Wizards will use their mid-level exception instead of their bi-annual exception to sign Jodie Meeks, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. The change was made to avoid being hard-capped by the expected re-signing of Otto Porter. Meeks will still receive $7MM over two seasons; the money will just come from a different source (Twitter link). The Wizards still haven’t received the Nets’ offer sheet for Porter, adds J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic (Twitter link).

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Clippers, Warriors, Hawks, Sixers and Pacers all remain in the market for Heat back-up center Willie Reed, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. Miami also hopes to re-sign him.
  • The Magic’s new management team is taking a cautious attitude toward rebuilding, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando has been quiet during the first week of free agency, despite coming off a 29-53 season and having up to $15.1MM available to spend. “There’s a lot less money in the free-agent market this year than there was last year,” said Jeff Weltman, the team’s new president of basketball operations. “And so, the approach that we’ve taken is to kind of wait and see how some of that shakes out towards the next phase of free agency and see which players we may be able to get into discussions with at that point. But we’ve been touching base with a lot of guys and just kind of gauging the market.”
  • The Hornets have promoted Buzz Peterson to assistant GM, the team announced on its website. A former standout at North Carolina and a head coach at five colleges, Peterson had been serving as the Hornets’ senior advisor to basketball operations. “He brings a wide breadth of basketball knowledge to the position, having been involved in the game at various levels for close to three decades,” said Charlotte GM Rich Cho. “I’m excited to be working more closely with Buzz in his new role and look forward to his continued contributions to our basketball team.”