Wizards Rumors

This Season’s Disabled Player Exceptions Set To Expire

The disabled player exceptions that teams have been granted throughout the 2020/21 season will expire if they go unused on Monday. April 19 is this year’s deadline to use or lose those exceptions.

As our breakdown shows, the Warriors, Nets, Heat, and Wizards each received a disabled player exception this season for injuries to Klay Thompson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Meyers Leonard, and Thomas Bryant, respectively. The Magic were given a pair of DPEs due to season-ending injuries suffered by Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz.

None of those five teams have used their disabled player exceptions — the Heat forfeited theirs when they decided to trade Leonard to the Thunder in a deal for Trevor Ariza, but the rest are still available.

We go into more detail on how exactly disabled player exceptions work in our glossary entry on the subject. But essentially, a DPE gives a team the opportunity to add an injury replacement by either signing a player to a one-year contract, trading for a player in the final year of his contract, or placing a waiver claim on a player in the final year of his contract.

At this point in the season, any free agent on the open market typically commands no more than the minimum salary. And since the trade deadline has passed, it’s extremely unlikely that Golden State, Brooklyn, Washington, or Orlando will use their exceptions before the end of the day.

Theoretically, any one of those teams could use its DPE to place a waiver claim on Moritz Wagner‘s $2.16MM expiring contract, but he’ll likely end up just clearing waivers later today.

Wizards Taking On Russell Westbrook's Personality

  • The Wizards have taken on Russell Westbrook‘s personality this season, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington explores. Westbrook is averaging a triple-double on the season — 21.9 points, 10.9 rebounds and 10.8 assists per game — but his primary focus remains helping Washington make the playoffs. “He’s just full of energy, ready to go, always a winning mentality,” teammate Bradley Beal said. “He’s going to play extremely hard every single time he touches the floor. It’s so surreal to be able to see a guy that plays as hard as he does still have that type of energy, still getting himself up and ready to go.”

Bradley Beal Discusses Staying With Wizards

  • Wizards star Bradley Beal feels somewhat vindicated by not requesting a trade earlier this season, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. “It speaks volumes,” Beal said. “It’s always tough because when my name was buzzing, that’s all I heard early in the year is, ‘Trade Beal, trade Beal.’ It wasn’t anything other than that. So, me knowing who I am and just sticking through it, that’s a testament to what we did as a team this year.”

Gafford May Start By End Of Year

  • The Wizards will allow 2,100 fans (10% of crowd capacity) back into the Capital One Arena starting on April 21 when they host the Warriors, according to an official team press release. The Wizards will employ COVID-19 precautions as they let fans back onto their home floor for the first time this season, including “health screenings, mobile-only tickets, and seating pods.” There will be seven remaining regular season home games that will allow for fan attendance.
  • As he works his way back from an ankle injury, new Wizards center Daniel Gafford may earn the starting nod for Washington by the end of the year, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “There are definitely possibilities of [him starting], but right now there are minutes restrictions,” head coach Scott Brooks indicated. Gafford is currently limited to about 16 minutes per night.

Wizards Sign Jordan Bell To 10-Day Contract

As expected, the Wizards have officially re-signed big man Jordan Bell to a 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release.

Washington opened up a spot on its 15-man roster last week by releasing Jerome Robinson. At the time, reports indicated that the Wizards would fill that opening by bringing back Bell — nearly a week later, the deal is done.

Bell, 26, inked a 10-day contract with the Wizards in January, then played for the team’s temporary NBA G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, at the Walt Disney World bubble. He averaged 17.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 2.1 BPG in seven NBAGL contests (27.4 MPG).

A report last month suggested the Wizards were eyeing Bell for a possible two-way deal if Garrison Mathews was promoted to the 15-man roster. But for now at least, it’ll be Bell who ends up on the 15-man squad, at least for the next 10 days.

Bell will earn $114,990 on his 10-day contract with Washington. The team will take on a $110,998 cap hit.

Kings Notes: Haliburton, Fox, Golden 1 Center

After coming off the bench in 31 of his first 33 games this season, rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton was moved into the Kings‘ starting lineup on March 17 and remained there for the team’s next 12 games. However, he has once again been a reserve for the last two, with head coach Luke Walton explaining that he likes having Haliburton lead the second unit. The 21-year-old is taking that decision in stride, as he tells Sam Amick of The Athletic.

“I’m not tripping off that,” Haliburton said. “At the end of the day, I’m a basketball player. I’m not just saying this because it’s a media answer. Like, Buddy (Hield) yelled at me yesterday because I told him this and he was like, ‘Oh, don’t give me the media answer.’ But it’s the truth. I’m a basketball player at the end of the day, so I’m coming out here to compete every night. If you put me off the bench or start me or however many minutes, I’m going to value those minutes and compete.”

Haliburton spoke to Amick about a handful of other topics, including how he ended up falling to No. 12 in last November’s draft. The rookie guard said he thought briefly that he’d be picked by the Wizards at No. 9, but they opted for Deni Avdija instead.

Addressing a rumor that he had a hand in orchestrating his draft-day slide because he was focused on playing for the Kings, Haliburton acknowledged that he liked the idea of playing in Sacramento and that he didn’t see a fit with the Hawks, who had the sixth pick. However, he dismissed the idea that he discouraged the top 11 teams from selecting him.

“There’s all these stupid rumors going around that I told everybody not to pick me because I wanted to go to Sac at 12. Like, come on now, are you crazy? I would never,” Haliburton said. “These teams just didn’t pick me, you know? It is what it is.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • De’Aaron Fox has been hit by the NBA with a $20K fine for his public criticism of the officiating, the league announced in a press release. Fox’s comments came after Sacramento’s 128-112 loss to Utah on Saturday, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee details.
  • The Kings will welcome fans back to the Golden 1 Center for the first time this season beginning on April 20, per a team release. Approximately 1,600 frontline workers will attend that first game — subsequent games will be open to more fans, with the capacity gradually increasing.
  • Sacramento is one of many teams around the NBA with a player currently on a 10-day contract. Damian Jones will be eligible to sign a second 10-day deal with the Kings when his current contract expires on Friday night. If one side or the other wants to end the relationship, Sacramento will open up a spot on its 15-man roster.

Wizards Encouraged With Return Of Daniel Gafford

Heat center Dewayne Dedmon is ready to help his new team in any way he can as Miami looks to establish playoff positioning in the coming weeks, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes.

Dedmon, 31, signed a rest-of-season contract with the Heat earlier this month and is available to make his season debut on Sunday against Portland. He’s expected to provide depth for a Miami team that also has Trevor Ariza, Bam Adebayo, Andre Iguodala, Nemanja Bjelica and Precious Achiuwa in the frontcourt.

“I feel like I fit on the defensive end, helping with the rim protection, helping rebound, getting more opportunities for these shooters we’ve got here,” Dedmon said of his fit with the club.

“So I come in, block a couple of shots, get a couple more offensive boards, provide a little more offense for the guards. I feel like that will help a lot. … I’m not Bam. I’m not looking to come in here and do what Bam does. I come in here and try to fill a defensive void that I feel like they need.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • The Magic and forward Otto Porter Jr. didn’t hold any buyout discussions prior to Friday’s playoff eligibility waiver deadline, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports (via Twitter). Orlando acquired Porter in a deal with Chicago featuring Nikola Vucevic last month. The 27-year-old – who also didn’t have any buyout talks with the Bulls, per Stein – has appeared in three games with the team so far and is set to become a free agent this summer.
  • Hawks guard Tony Snell has suffered a right ankle sprain and bone bruise, the team announced (Twitter link). In addition to Sunday’s game against Charlotte, Snell will also miss Tuesday’s game against Toronto and will be re-evaluated when the club returns to Atlanta.
  • The Wizards were encouraged with the return of center Daniel Gafford against the Suns on Saturday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Gafford had missed the last six games with a sprained ankle. He finished with nine points, five rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes against Phoenix, playing off the bench. “It felt great,” Gafford said. “With the limited time that I was out there, it felt natural and it felt good to be out there after this six-game stretch where I’ve been missing. It was kind of sore at the end, but other than that I just felt good being able to get up and down the floor.”

Injury Notes: Oladipo, Beal, LeBron, Oubre, Hill, Temple

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra refused to speculate on how much time Victor Oladipo might miss with an injured right knee and declined to say whether he thinks Oladipo will play again this season, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Oladipo suffered the injury Thursday and didn’t accompany the team on its four-game road trip. He is considered out indefinitely with “right knee soreness.”

After today’s practice in Portland, Spoelstra told reporters the organization is still in the “information gathering stage” regarding Oladipo.

“I don’t have a new update,” he said. “He’s not with us on this trip and he won’t be with us (Sunday). I don’t have any new information.”

Oladipo’s injury occurred on a non-contact play when he landed after a dunk. He underwent an MRI Friday, but the Heat haven’t released the results. X-rays taken Thursday came back negative.

“He really wanted to be with us and this team and we really like what he brings to our group,” Spoelstra said. “He complements who we are and what we do already so much on both sides of the floor. You do feel for guys, particularly this time of the year. The competition is going to another level. Players want to be out there.”

Here are some more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Wizards guard Bradley Beal missed tonight’s game with tightness in his back, but the team doesn’t believe the condition is related to his hip issue, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post (Twitter link). “Don’t think it’s going to be lasting,” coach Scott Brooks said. “I’m hoping that a day off today and a day off tomorrow, he’ll be back against Utah … that’s the hope.”
  • The Lakers expect to have LeBron James back in about three weeks, sources tell ESPN. He has missed about three weeks so far with a high right ankle sprain.
  • An MRI confirmed that Warriors forward Kelly Oubre has a sprained wrist, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. Oubre is sitting out tonight’s game, but the team hasn’t said how much time he might miss.
  • George Hill hasn’t been able to play for the Sixers yet, but he participated in warm-ups before tonight’s game, tweets Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Hill is recovering from thumb surgery in February.
  • Bulls forward Garrett Temple suffered a setback in his rehab from a right hamstring injury and could be out a while longer, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports (Twitter link). Coach Billy Donovan said Temple experienced an issue while running.

Beal Dealing With Nerve Issues In Hip; Gafford Reamins Without Timetable For Return

  • Wizards star Bradley Beal is dealing with some nerve issues in his hip, as relayed by Mike Deprisco of NBC Sports Washington. Beal missed five straight games with a hip contusion before returning on Wednesday, recording 26 points and five assists in a win over the Magic. “It’s a little worse than a contusion. I got a little nerve stuff going on too,” Beal said. “It’s a matter of just every day, keeping the symptoms down and being able to duke it out. I feel if I can push through some things and be able to tolerate and move comfortably, then I’ll give it a go.”
  • Wizards center Daniel Gafford had a nice workout earlier this week, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Gafford has missed the team’s last five games due to a sprained right ankle. There remains no timetable on the 22-year-old’s return, according to coach Scott Brooks.

Wizards Waive Jerome Robinson, Expected To Re-Sign Jordan Bell

9:29am: The Wizards have officially waived Robinson, the team announced today in a press release.

6:34am: The Wizards are making a change at the back of their 15-man roster, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links), who reports that the club is waiving fourth-year wing Jerome Robinson and is expected to fill the newly-opened roster spot soon by re-signing big man Jordan Bell to a 10-day contract.

The 13th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Robinson spent his first season-and-a-half with the Clippers before being sent to Washington in the three-team Marcus Morris/Maurice Harkless trade at the 2020 deadline. In 38 games (21.3 MPG) for the Wizards, he averaged 7.4 PPG and 2.8 RPG with a .361/.320/.776 shooting line.

Back in December, the Wizards opted to pass on Robinson’s fourth-year option for 2021/22, which would’ve been worth $5.34MM. That was a sign that he wasn’t in Washington’s long-term plans, as was a report last month that he was among the players the team was shopping at the trade deadline.

Robinson will become an unrestricted free agent once he clears waivers, free to sign with any team, while the Wizards remain on the hook for the rest of his $3.74MM salary for 2020/21.

As for Bell, the 26-year-old inked a 10-day contract with the Wizards in January, then played for the team’s temporary NBA G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, at the Walt Disney World bubble. He averaged 17.6 PPG, 9.1 RPG, and 2.1 BPG in seven NBAGL contests (27.4 MPG).

A report last month suggested the Wizards were eyeing Bell for a possible two-way deal if Garrison Mathews was promoted to the 15-man roster, but it appears it’ll be Bell who ends up on the 15-man squad, albeit just on a 10-day deal for now.

If and when the Wizards and Bell make it official, the 10-day contract will pay him $114,990, with a cap hit of $110,998. Since it will be Bell’s second 10-day deal with the franchise this season, Washington will have to either let him walk or sign him for the rest of ’20/21 once it expires.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.