Martell Webster

Martell Webster Abandons Comeback Attempt

After signing with the Pelicans earlier this week, Martell Webster has decided to leave training camp and retire from basketball.

Webster made the announcement on Twitter, writing, “I Thank the amazing organization in New Orleans for the opportunity to play, I’ve made the decision to hang the [shoe icon] and return to the fam.”

Webster was in camp on a non-guaranteed contract, so the Pelicans won’t owe him anything. New Orleans had the maximum 20 players in camp, so Webster’s departure creates an opening.

Now 30, Webster hadn’t played an NBA game since undergoing surgery in November of 2015 to repair labrum and cartilage damage in his right hip. He played 32 games for the Wizards during the 2014/15 season, but the team waived him after the injury, which was believed to be career-threatening.


The Trail Blazers selected Webster with the sixth pick in the 2005 draft, and he spent five years in Portland before being traded to Minnesota. He was with the Wolves for two seasons and the Wizards for three.

Pelicans Sign Martell Webster

SEPTEMBER 25: Webster is now officially under contract with the Pelicans, according to a press release from the team.

SEPTEMBER 17: Martell Webster has agreed to a non-guaranteed training camp contract with the Pelicans, tweets Brett Martel of The Associated Press.

The 30-year-old small forward hasn’t played in the NBA since being waived by the Wizards in November of 2015 following surgery on his right hip to fix the labrum and damaged cartilage. The injury was feared to be career ending, but the Pelicans believe he has recovered enough to earn another shot.

The sixth player taken in the 2005 draft, Webster played for Portland, Minnesota and Washington in a 10-year career. His best season came in 2012/13 when he started 62 games for the Wizards and averaged 11.4 points per night.

The agreement with Webster was part of a busy weekend for the Pelicans, who reached a similar deal with Perry Jones and signed veteran free agent Tony Allen.

And-Ones: Trade Candidates, Webster, Loyalty

As the dust settles on the Kyrie IrvingIsaiah Thomas swap, Trade Machine junkies will need to find new ways to satisfy their impulses. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders recognizes that we’re not likely to see another blockbuster trade before training camp but has a few ideas of who could possibly be involved if we did.

Of course the first name you might recall hearing on the rumor mill is likely Carmelo Anthony‘s. Kyler notes that the Rockets – a suitor most linked to the veteran forward – are only willing to field a package centered around Ryan Anderson. For this reason, and the fact that Anthony has never been a problem in the locker room, the Knicks would benefit from bringing him to training camp and dealing with the situation later.

Another name on Kyler’s list that could be moved is Reggie Jackson. If the Pistons get out to a slow start similar to what they suffered last season, the club could look to move the point guard for a player with a more palatable contract.

There’s more from around the NBA:

  • While the Pacers may bear the brunt of the Lakers‘ tampering, the Thunder, too, are stakeholders considering that Paul George is under contract in Oklahoma City until next summer. Erik Horne of the Oklahoman spoke with the sports law director at Penn State, Stephen Ross, about the issue. Ross’ perspective is different than some we’ve reported on previously. “To me, the test for player tampering is not the expression of love, it’s, are the players providing information to another player that he wouldn’t otherwise have?,” Ross said. “If a player texts another player, ‘I will sign an extension if you’ll tell me you’re going to come to my team,’ now I think you have a problem.”
  • After undergoing multiple back surgeries and a hip surgery, Martell Webster is attempting an NBA comeback, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe writes. Austin Kent wrote about him working out for the Pelicans last week.
  • A reality of the current NBA landscape is that, loyal or not, the majority of players and teams aren’t afraid to make calculated business decisions. Such is life, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer writes.

Pelicans Work Out Josh Smith, Other Veterans

The Pelicans worked out a number of veteran players that could potentially be used to fill the void at small forward in the wake of Solomon Hill‘s hamstring injury, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed on his podcast. Included in the workout were Josh Smith, Chase Budinger and Martell Webster.

While Wojnarowski questions the decision to bring in a handful of players with spotty track records to fill such a vital role for a Pels team with playoff intentions, New Orleans will need to come up with a solution if they can’t quickly lock down Dante Cunningham.

As we discussed on Tuesday, the Pelicans are trying to bring Cunningham back on a minimum deal but are facing strong competition from Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves. Cunningham has served as a spot starter for the Pels on and off over the course of the past three seasons.

Of the three vets Wojnarowski mentions to have worked out for the franchise, it’s Smith who had the most significant NBA tenure but he’s also likely the least natural small forward of the three as well.

For nine seasons Smith helped anchor a Hawks team that gradually became one of the Eastern Conference’s most reliable contenders but things began to unravel when he signed a free agent deal with the Pistons ahead of the 2013/14 campaign.

Since then, Smith has bounced from the Pistons to the Rockets and Clippers and has found himself out of the league altogether since 2015/16.

Famously criticized for his tendency to shoot long twos, Smith’s inclusion in a Pelicans rotation already built around two traditional big men causes consternation and, in the eyes of Wojnarowski, won’t exactly help the franchise woo superstar Anthony Davis, whose name has come up as a coveted trade target for the Celtics.

Budinger, like Smith, hasn’t suited up for an NBA team since the 2015/16 season, while Webster hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since 2014/15.

Western Rumors: Simmons, T. Chandler, Clippers

Before they renounced Jonathon Simmons‘ rights and made him an unrestricted free agent, the Spurs discussed a sign-and-trade scenario that would have sent Simmons to the Suns in a deal for center Tyson Chandler, writes Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News. It’s not clear if the proposed deal would have been Simmons for Chandler straight up or if other parts would have been involved, but either way, San Antonio backed out of the deal, reluctant to take on Chandler’s contract, per Young.

With Simmons now a UFA, it will be interesting to see if the Suns make a move to land him outright. According to David Aldridge of TNT (Twitter link), there’s “strong” interest in Simmons around the league, with a couple teams apparently in the lead for him. The free agent guard could make a decision by the weekend, says Aldridge.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves are essentially limited to minimum salary contracts at this point, making them an unlikely destination for Jonathon Simmons or any of the other top free agents remaining on the market, says Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).
  • Thunder GM Sam Presti acknowledged that extension discussions with Russell Westbrook aren’t really “a negotiation,” since a maximum salary offer is on the table for the reigning MVP. Erik Horne and Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman have the details on the story, suggesting that Oklahoma City won’t pressure Westbrook, who may accept the offer on his own timeline.
  • The Clippers worked out a pair of veteran free agent this week, according to Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times, who tweets that the club took a look at Tiago Splitter and Martell Webster. While no deal is imminent, the Clips remain in the market for depth at small forward and center.

Wizards Use Stretch Provision On Martell Webster

The Wizards used the stretch provision to spread out the cap hit associated with the $2.5MM partial guarantee on Martell Webster‘s salary for next season, reports Zach Lowe of (Twitter link). Webster, who cleared waivers after the team released him last week, will see the $2.5MM in three equal parts of $833,333 each season from 2016/17 through 2018/19 instead of receiving the $2.5MM all in 2016/17. That gives the Wizards about $1.667MM in added cap flexibility this summer, when they’re poised to chase soon-to-be free agent Kevin Durant and reportedly plan to re-sign Bradley Beal to a max contract in free agency.

The stretch doesn’t apply to this season’s salary of almost $5.614MM. The full amount of Webster’s salary for next season was to have been more than $5.845MM, but Washington is only on the hook for the partially guaranteed value.

The league allows teams until the end of the first full day after a player clears waivers to decide whether they want to use the stretch provision to spread out his cap hit, so that accounts for some of the delay in reporting. The Wizards could have taken until the end of this past Thursday to declare whether they were stretching Webster’s salary.

The move leaves Washington with $37,691,855 in guaranteed salary for next season, when the cap is projected to hit $89MM. Beal’s cap hold is worth $14,734,954, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The Wizards would incur roster charges worth $3,804,297, a number equal to seven times the rookie minimum salary, if they were to strip down merely to Beal and the four players on their roster with fully guaranteed salary for next season. The maximum salary for Durant, who’ll have nine years of experience by next summer, is projected to be $24.9MM. That means the Wizards would have at least $81,131,106 tied up if they sign Durant, so they could spend between that amount and the cap to supplement their roster before circling back to re-sign Beal. Washington could use Beal’s Bird rights to exceed the cap, a privilege the team wouldn’t have with outside free agents.

Still, those numbers are merely based on projections and the idea that Washington would waive Kris Humphries, Drew Gooden and DeJuan Blair, all of whom also have partially guaranteed salary for next season. It would also require the team to get rid of its obligation to pay its 2016 first-round pick, which the Wizards could achieve by trading the pick or using it on a draft-and-stash player. The Wizards could pry open additional flexibility if they use the stretch provision on other players they might waive. In any case, the decision to stretch Webster’s salary will help the team supplement its roster for next season, even as it places slightly more burden on the team’s payroll for 2017/18 and 2018/19.

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.

Martell Webster Out For Season

FRIDAY, 3:55pm: Webster underwent successful surgery today and he is expected to miss the remainder of the season, the Wizards announced.

11:32am: It’s usually an eight-to-10 month recovery timetable, a person with knowledge of the situation told Castillo for an updated version of his story. It was Webster who cited four to six months.

9:28am: The injury will knock him out nine to 10 months, according to J. Michael of, threatening his availability for training camp next season. The Wizards will apply for a disabled player exception, Michael adds.

WEDNESDAY, 9:14am: Wizards small forward Martell Webster will have surgery Friday on his ailing right hip and expects to miss four to six months, reports Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. The news is not entirely surprising, since he told reporters last month that surgery was among the solutions in play to address the issue, which entailed a bone spur that had caused a tear in his labrum. The injury affects him financially, since he had to play in 70 games this season to bump the $2.5MM partial guarantee on his salary next season to a full guarantee of more than $5.845MM. Webster was determined to try to play through it, going so far as to use balance-correcting glasses to keep him from leaning too heavily on his right side, but he has yet to make it into a game so far this season.

“We tried everything else and I just wasn’t getting the results that I wanted,” Webster said, according to Castillo. “So I wanted to go out and get it taken care of rather than playing this season in some discomfort and then wait until the offseason to get it taken care of and then rehab the whole offseason and then try to find a rhythm come training camp. I’d rather take care of it now.”

Webster was adamant that he won’t retire because of the surgery, noting that a doctor told him that he has an 85% chance of returning to play at some point, Castillo writes. The early end of his recovery timetable would have him back by late March, though six months would likely wipe out his season.

Doctors would have to determine that Webster is likely to miss the season for Washington to be able to apply for a disabled player exception worth half of Webster’s nearly $5.614MM salary this season. The Wizards have a full 15-man roster, and Alan Anderson is out until sometime next month. Still, Washington doesn’t qualify to apply for a hardship provision of a 16th roster spot.

Major Surgery In Play For Martell Webster

1:19pm: The injury is a “bone spur that’s rubbing up against my labrum,” Webster said, according to Michael, and Webster said that it’s a caused a tear in the labrum, as Castillo relays within his full story.

12:38pm: The Wizards aren’t planning to apply for a disabled player exception if Webster ultimately opts for surgery, Michael hears (Twitter link).

10:42am: Martell Webster told reporters today that he has a hip injury that would knock him out for four to six months if he undergoes surgery to repair it, note Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post and J. Michael of (Plus Twitter links). The 28-year-old small forward said he’ll try to play through it with the use of balance-correcting glasses, as Michael details. Michael nonetheless added that the injury flared up during practice Tuesday, according to Castillo, who termed it a partially torn labrum in Webster’s right hip, while Michael called it a bone spur on the hip. The $2.5MM partial guarantee on Webster’s salary for 2016/17 would jump to a full guarantee of more than $5.845MM if he plays in 70 games this season, a prospect that appears decreasingly likely.

The failure of Webster to lock in his extra guaranteed money would grant the Wizards added flexibility for their pursuit of Kevin Durant and others next summer, though surely they’d like to have Webster available for much of the season. Webster dealt with the injury throughout the preseason as he failed to appear in any of Washington’s exhibitions. Back surgery helped limit him to only 32 games last season, and while he pondered retirement a year ago, he backed off that idea this past summer, saying that he wants to play beyond the expiration of his contract at the end of the 2016/17 season.

A six-month timetable would mean he’d miss all of the regular season, so if he elects surgery, it’s possible that the Wizards would apply for and receive a disabled player exception worth nearly $2.807MM, a figure equivalent to half of Webster’s salary for this season. Alan Anderson is also out for the Wizards with an ankle injury, challenging the team’s depth at the wing, but Washington hasn’t suffered enough major injuries to make a hardship provision for an extra roster spot a possibility at this point.

Southeast Notes: Weber, Hardaway Jr., Webster

Martell Webster‘s injury woes may end up costing him some guaranteed salary, J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic relays. The final season of Webster’s four-year, $22MM deal with the Wizards includes an incentive clause that stipulates that he has to appear in a total of 180 regular season contests during the first three years of the arrangement, or else his full guarantee will be downgraded to a partial guarantee of $2MM, which is less than 50% of what Webster’s contract calls for in 2016/17, Michael notes. Webster played 78 and 32 games in the first two years of his deal, which means that he’d need to make 70 appearances this season to meet his contractual goal, an unrealistic expectation given the Wizards’ depth at forward and his current health status, the CSN scribe opines.

Here’s more out of the Southeast:

  • Briante Weber‘s minimum salary deal with the Heat is for one year and includes no guaranteed money, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (via Twitter).
  • Hawks swingman Tim Hardaway Jr. has struggled to find his shooting stroke during the preseason, but he’ll still be given ample opportunities to prove himself this season given the high price Atlanta paid to obtain him, writes Kris Willis of SB Nation’s Peachtree Hoops.
  • Magic coach Scott Skiles believes that second-year combo forward Aaron Gordon will be a difference-maker for the team this season, John Denton of writes. Orlando is hoping that Gordon will be able to play small forward full time which would allow the team to shift Tobias Harris to power forward, Denton adds. “I want to get [Gordon] to play with Tobias some. It’s not like we’re doubting that they can play together because we know that they can, but it’s just a matter of actually going out there and doing it,’’ Skiles said. “Then, it’s about figuring out after Friday who we want to start opening night and things like that [with the rotations].’’