Drew Gooden

Wizards Decline Option On Drew Gooden

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.

Eastern Notes: Middleton, Gooden, Grant

Khris Middleton has enjoyed a good season so far, but his shooting of late has been especially impressive, Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel writes.

“Khris has played well for a stretch here and he is feeling comfortable within the offense,” Bucks interim coach Joe Prunty said. “The guys are finding him in his sweet spots and he’s getting clean looks. Guys are setting good screens. In his case, it’s not always catch-and-shoot situations. Sometimes it’s plays off the dribble.”

Middleton, who re-signed with Milwaukee for five years and $70MM last July, is averaging 16.3 points and 1.2 steals per game this season, while shooting 42.0% from behind the arc and 88.8% from the foul line. The Bucks own a record of 13-21, but Middleton believes the team can turn the season around if they start playing like a cohesive unit.

“Once we move the ball from side to side, we’ve got so many guys who can score and make plays that we’re a dangerous team,” he said. “We just have to play together after we get stops.”

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Drew Gooden aggravated his calf injury against the Magic on Friday night and his MRI reveals a strain and a slight tear in his calf, Marc. J Spears of Yahoo Sports tweets. The former No. 4 overall pick has only played seven games with the Wizards this season, totaling just 16 points and 28 rebounds.
  • Jerami Grant‘s ability to play either forward spot is proving to be valuable for the Sixers, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Grant has been tasked with guarding the opponent’s best forward this season, something the 21-year-old views as benefit to his development. “I definitely like it,” Grant said. “I’m versatile. So it kind of helps my game out.”

Wizards Notes: Beal, Gooden, Pierce

Bradley Beal could begin non-basketball activities this week, according to J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. The Wizards shooting guard has missed nine consecutive games with a lower right leg injury. Beal will be on a minutes restriction when he returns, the report adds, but coach Randy Wittman has no plans to use Beal off the bench to save him for late-game situations. “No, because we’re going to have to control his minutes some when he first comes back like we have every year,” Wittman said. “We never had to deal with the problem again after getting a couple weeks of limited minutes.”

In other news regarding the Wizards:

  • Nene and Drew Gooden could be close to returning from calf injuries, J. Michael reports in a separate story. Wittman isn’t sure if either will be back this week. “It could go anywhere from three or four days to two weeks,” Wittman told the team’s beat reporters. “When you’re dealing with a calf, until you fully don’t feel anything twinging down there [you don’t know]. They’re closer.”
  • Paul Pierce carries only fond memories of his season with the Wizards, Rowan Kavner of Clippers.com writes. Pierce averaged 11.9 points and 4.9 rebounds last season, then boosted his scoring average to 14.6 points in the postseason before signing with the Clippers. “I had a lot of fun, truthfully, just being around the young guys, teaching them every day, talking to them,” Pierce told Kavner. “Even though it was one year, I had a lot of fun being around these guys. They welcomed me with open arms. I embraced the city, they embraced me back, and I really enjoyed my time.”
  • The Wizards miss Pierce’s brutal candor and moxie but both sides needed to move on, J. Michael opines in a column following their loss to the Clippers on Monday. Pierce’s departure allowed small forward Otto Porter to take a starting role and rookie forward Kelly Oubre to gain a spot in the rotation, J. Michael continues. It also allowed Washington to play at a higher pace but there’s no denying that Pierce had a significant impact on his younger teammates, J. Michael adds.

Southeast Notes: Oladipo, Lin, Oubre

Victor Oladipo, a former No. 2 overall pick who’ll become eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer, is playing like a first-team All-Defensive player, according to Magic coach Scott Skiles, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel relays. Oladipo is adept at guarding one-on-one, pressuring ball-handlers and contesting entry passes, Robbins explains. All of that has contributed to making the Magic a better defensive team this season, Robbins adds. Skiles moved Oladipo to the bench earlier this season, but the third-year shooting guard responded well.

Here’s more on the Southeast Division:

  • Wizards coach Randy Wittman believes Drew Gooden and Nene should be able to return at some point this week, Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic.com relays. Nene has missed 12 straight games with a left calf strain while Gooden has missed 21 games because of a right calf strain, as Standig notes. Nene is set for free agency at season’s end.
  • Wizards rookie Kelly Oubre is gaining confidence lately after scoring 18 points Wednesday and earning his first start on Saturday, J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com writes. Oubre must be cognizant of not allowing himself to get into foul trouble early in games going forward, Michael adds, because there is a decent chance the Wizards will look to use more of him soon. “I told him he had to play a little bit differently now than when I have put (him) in games and it’s been a cause-havoc situation,” Wittman said. “I told him he had to learn situations. We’re short-handed. You get the first one and you’ve got to be smart. It was trying to get him to understand the difference between starting and being in the position where he had been.”
  • While Jeremy Lin‘s numbers aren’t as eye-opening as they were during his “Linsanity” run, the point guard has added lineup flexibility for the Hornets and his turnover percentage is at a career low, Jesus Gomez of SB Nation’s Pounding the Rock details.

Eastern Notes: Drummond, Prokhorov, Green

With Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov making a series of moves recently that expanded the Russian’s holdings in New York’s sports and entertainment market, some concern exists that these real estate moves may diminish his interest, as well as financial commitment, to the team, according to NetsDaily. Dmitry Razumov, Prokhorov’s CEO and chairman of the Nets, disputed any notion that team ownership is losing interest in the franchise or the NBA, NetsDaily adds. “Without doubt ownership is focused on team performance,” said Razumov.  “Our new projects will contribute to the team’s ultimate success by providing a best-in-class practice facility and a D-League team as a resource for players and coaching staff.

The team has made a series of roster moves that have reduced the team’s payroll since Paul Pierce departed as a free agent prior to the 2014/15 season, but Razumov suggests these decisions were not just about the money, and added that fans should give the rebuilding process a chance to bear fruit, the NetsDaily scribe relays. “We also understand that a team of largely new, younger players needs time to come together and we have to give the coach and the players a chance to do their work without breathing down their necks,” Razumov continued.  “The many devoted fans who have been with us through thick and thin will recall we have been through this before, and have managed to get to the playoffs three times in the last three seasons.  We have every hope that the same thing is possible this season.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Heat have suspended swingman Gerald Green for two games, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter links), and the team confirmed. The suspension is for what the team is referring to as “detrimental conduct,” Wojnarowski adds. Green has been away from the team following an incident last week that apparently left him bleeding and unconscious.
  • Pistons center Andre Drummond is off to a spectacular start to the 2015/16 campaign, and much of his success is due to the departure of Greg Monroe, who signed with the Bucks this offseason, Adam Woodard of For the Win writes. Drummond, who is eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer, could see offer sheets for deals worth approximately $100MM come his way, Woodard opines.
  • Drew Gooden has played for 10 different teams during his 13-year NBA career, and he now finds himself an important rotation piece on the Wizards, a longevity that the player attributes to his versatility, Chris Mannix of SI.com relays. “I’m like a tunnel rat,” Gooden told Mannix. “Every situation I’m in I have to reinvent myself, have to do what I can do to fit in. I came [to Washington] on a 10-day contract and I made the best of it. But the league has changed, in a good way for me. When I came in the league, the biggest knock was that I was a tweener, that I couldn’t play the three or the four. Now there is value in that. It’s made its way full circle.

Southeast Notes: Green, Durant, Gooden

Numerous coaches around the league have praised the Heat‘s signing of Gerald Green to a one-year pact, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald relays. Kings coach George Karl said of Green, “Explosive guy coming off the bench. Can blow a game open. He reminds me a lot of J.R. Smith when I had J.R. in Denver. Sometimes you don’t like how he plays. Sometimes he’ll drive you a little crazy. But in the same sense, he has a power for a bench player that has All-Star talent. Now he doesn’t put it on the court every night. [But] when you have the ability to put it on the court every other game, that’s still a great weapon to have. I think [Heat coach] Erik [Spoelstra] will use him really well.

Here’s the latest out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Wizards intend to go “all in” on pursuing Kevin Durant when he becomes a free agent next Summer, which means the team needs to show Durant through its roster moves that he’ll have the best opportunity to secure an NBA title in Washington, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post writes. “The one thing I know about my brother is he wants to win,” said Damion James, Durant’s best friend and a member of the Wizards’ summer league team. “He’ll do whatever it takes to win. Whoever gives him the best chance to win is where he’s going to end up.
  • Aaron Harrison‘s two-year deal with the Hornets will pay him $525,093 in 2015/16 and $874,636 for the 2016/17 season, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • The Wizards’ pact with Drew Gooden will see him earn approximately $3.3MM for the upcoming season and $3.5MM for the 2016/17 campaign, Pincus relays (on Twitter).
  • Undrafted rookie Terran Petteway is trying to snag a training camp invite with the Hawks through his Summer League play, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes.

Wizards Re-Sign Drew Gooden

July 13th, 7:03pm: The signing is official, according to a team press releaseDrew has been an important part of our success the last two years and we are pleased to welcome him back, said team president Ernie Grunfeld. His skills, leadership and outside shooting will continue to add value to our front court rotation.

JULY 11TH, 6:01pm: The deal is for two years and $6MM, with a $3MM non-guaranteed salary in year two, according to former Nets executive Bobby Marks (on Twitter).

JULY 9TH, 5:56pm: The Wizards have reached an agreement to re-sign unrestricted free agent Drew Gooden, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). The deal is for one year, $3.3MM, David Aldridge of TNT tweets.

Gooden appeared in 51 contests for the Wizards last season, averaging 5.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.0 assist in 16.9 minutes of action per game, His slash line was .399/.390/.773. His career numbers through 13 NBA seasons are 11.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 1.2 APG, with a shooting line of .464/.269/.760.

The 33-year-old will likely see an uptick in his minutes next season with Kevin Seraphin expected to depart via free agency. Gooden had expressed his desire to return to Washington back in early June. “I would love for it to be here but if it is not, this is a business and I can swallow that pill too,” Gooden said of his future. “So we will see what happens.” The big man made more than $1.4MM this past season.

Gooden will be able to veto any trade this year, since he-resigned with the team on a one-year deal. He’d lose his Bird rights if he approved any swap.

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Thornton, Wizards

The dollars are flying this summer for the league’s top free agents — especially free agent big men —  but Heat center Hassan Whiteside says that he’s not concerning himself with all of that right now, Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post writes. Whiteside, who just experienced a breakout season, will hit free agency next summer. As Lieser points out, Whiteside has never earned more than $1MM in a season and will make $981,348 this upcoming season.

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Marcus Thornton is part of a small group of shooters — and one that has shrunk because of recent reported signings — that Miami is interested in, a Heat official told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Thornton, according to Jackson, is a realistic target. There are other guards on the free agent market that would be bench upgrades, but they are more likely to command more than the minimum, and Miami hasn’t decided if it will pay more than that, Jackson adds.
  • The Wizards were probably out on Rodney Stuckey after agreeing to sign Gary Neal, J. Michael of CSNWashington.com tweets.  On Sunday, Stuckey agreed to stay in Indiana on a three-year, $21MM deal.
  • Drew Gooden appears to be most likely of the Wizards‘ unrestricted free agents to return, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke with  J. Michael of CSNWashington.com.  Gooden is one of four UFAs for Washington, including Rasual Butler, Kevin Seraphin, and Will Bynum.  With Paul Pierce out of the picture, Gooden is an affordable and logical choice to help fill that void at the stretch four.

Will Joseph contributed to this post.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Wizards, Carroll

Pat Riley has denied that he’s looking to do so, but the Heat may look to trade Mario Chalmers and Chris Andersen to reduce their luxury tax costs, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami is staring at a bill of more than $30MM if no further moves are made, and replacing Chalmers and Andersen with minimum salary players [Jackson mentions Carlos Boozer as a possibility] or near-minimum guys [such as Marcus Thornton] could reduce that by about $20MM. Another trade candidate is Josh McRoberts, but Jackson says many in the organization would prefer to keep him. Jackson also credits Goran Dragic for taking a less-than-maximum deal to help the Heat keep Dwyane Wade. Zoran Dragic, who is entering the final year of his contract, admitted to being frustrated by a lack of playing time in Miami after being acquired from Phoenix in February.

There’s more news from the Southeast Division:

  • A sign-and-trade deal involving Chalmers, Andersen or McRoberts could be the best way for the Heat to get the extra shooter they need, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. The columnist also contends Chris Bosh, if fully healthy, is a better fit for Miami than LaMarcus Aldridge would have been.
  • Free agent Drew Gooden will probably be re-signed by the Wizards, writes J. Michael of CSNWashington.com, but Michael isn’t as optimistic about Kevin Seraphin. Gooden is valuable for Washington because he provides both size at 6’10” and three-point range, Michael argues, but he expects Seraphin to go somewhere he can get more playing time. The free agent center has been linked to the Lakers, Suns and Spurs. Michael also notes that the Wizards have been stocking up on wing players this summer in an effort to match up better with the Cavaliers’ LeBron James. So far, Washington has agreements to add Gary Neal, Jared Dudley and Kelly Oubre.
  • The Hawks told DeMarre Carroll they had to make a choice between him and Paul Millsap in free agency, tweets Ethan J. Skolnick of Bleacher Report. Carroll said the Raptors made it clear to him that he was a top priority. “I came in and realized this team really wants me and the coach really wants me,” he said (Twitter link). “… At the same time, then they threw the money at me, and that was even bigger.” (Twitter link). Carroll is to receive $60MM over four years from Toronto.

Southeast Notes: Pierce, Gooden, Harkless

The chance to continue mentoring John Wall and Bradley Beal may be enough to keep Paul Pierce in Washington, writes Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post. Pierce spoke highly about the young guards during a radio interview this week, fueling speculation that he may be willing to rejoin the Wizards for another season. Pierce had avoided public comment since the team’s season ended with a playoff loss to Atlanta, while rumors swirled that he was considering retirement or signing with the Clippers. Pierce has a player option for the 2015/16 season worth more than $5.5MM.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Changing teams is a familiar experience for the WizardsDrew Gooden, but the veteran forward would like to stay in Washington, according to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. Gooden, who has been with 10 teams during his NBA career, emerged as a valuable stretch four for the Wizards late in the season and during the playoffs. “I would love for it to be here but if it is not, this is a business and I can swallow that pill too,” Gooden said of his future. “So we will see what happens.” He made more than $1.4MM this season.
  • Maurice Harkless thinks new Magic coach Scott Skiles can help him reach his goal of making the All-Defensive Team, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. “With Scott Skiles coming in and his emphasis on defense, I definitely think he can teach me a lot and help develop me to be that guy,” Harkless said. “It’s definitely something I’m willing and able to do. I’m looking forward to working with him and learning from him.” Harkless started 59 games as a rookie, but his playing time decreased in each of the past two seasons. He can become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2016.
  • Skiles will need patience as he inherits a team with one of the youngest starting lineups in the NBA, according to Ken Hornack of Fox Sports Florida. The lone veteran starter, Channing Frye, was replaced late in the season by 19-year-old Aaron Gordon. “It’s exciting when you have an opportunity to work with young players because you can truly help them,” Skiles said. “And any teacher or coach, that’s when you feel the best about your profession, when you go home feeling like you’ve helped somebody.”