- After the Nets defeated the Wizards on Friday, former Wizard Jared Dudley suggested that the team is in need of a shake up, according to Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. Much of the Wizards’ core that played with Dudley in 2016 is still on the roster, but the team hasn’t had consistent success in several years.
Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Southeast Division:
Dewayne Dedmon, Hawks, 29, C (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $14.1MM deal in 2017
Dedmon’s journeyman career had been on an upward path the past couple of seasons but appears to have plateaued under new coach Lloyd Pierce. Dedmon was coming off the bench before missing a few games for personal reasons after starting 46 games last season under Mike Budenholzer. His playing time has taken a hit from 24.9 MPG to 19.7. Dedmon is making $7.2MM but will likely have to settle for a veteran’s minimum deal or something close to it in unrestricted free agency next summer.
Wayne Ellington, Heat, 30, SG (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $6.27MM deal in 2018
The Heat have an overload of options at the wing positions but Ellington’s shooting has made him a steady rotation presence since recovering from an ankle injury. Over the past five games, Ellington is shooting 44.7% on his 3-point attempts. That’s the main reason coach Erik Spoestra has played him an average of 28.6 MPG over that span. Ellington settled for a one-year contract in free agency this summer and his outside shooting should lead to multi-year offers in July.
Jeremy Lamb, Hornets, 26, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $21MM deal in 2016
Lamb averaged double digits in scoring for the first time in his career last season and he’s established himself as a starter this season. Lamb is averaging 12.9 PPG as Kemba Walker‘s backcourt partner while shooting a career-best 39.2% from long range. He’s also been a factor on defense (career high 1.4 SPG). Lamb is making $7.49MM and his shooting and defensive length will grant him a healthy raise when he hits the open market in July.
Terrence Ross, Magic, 27, SG/SF (Up) — Signed to a three-year, $31.5MM deal in 2016
Ross appeared in only 24 games last season due to a knee injury. He started most of the games he was able to play for Orlando after being dealt by the Raptors in February 2017 but new coach Steve Clifford has made him a second-unit contributor. Thus far, Ross has thrived in that role, averaging 13.9 PPG while making a career-high 39.3% of his threes. That kind of production will give him consideration for the Sixth Man award if he keeps it up. It would also lead to multi-year offers next summer for Ross, who is making $10.5MM.
Kelly Oubre, Wizards, 22, SF (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $9.2MM deal in 2015
The Wizards have finally shown some signs of life, winning their last three games, but Oubre has been heading in the opposite direction. He’s scored in single digits in five of the last six games. He’s also been in a prolonged shooting slump, making 14% of his 3-point tries over the last nine games. The capped-out Wizards must extend a $4,485,665 qualifying offer to Oubre next June to make him a restricted free agent. If he has a down year, the Wizards’ decision will become even tougher.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:
- The Bucks have recalled Sterling Brown from the Wisconsin Herd, the team announced (Twitter link). Brown scored 23 points and made five threes in the Herd’s loss to the Mad Ants on Wednesday.
- The Sixers reassigned Jonah Bolden to the Delaware Blue Coats, tweets Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Bolden has played six games with Philadelphia this season.
- The Pistons assigned and then later recalled Henry Ellenson, Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown, announcing the news in a pair of press releases.
- The Celtics assigned Guerschon Yabusele and Brad Wanamaker to the Maine Red Claws, the team announced (Twitter link). The Red Claws played the Raptors 905 on Thursday, with the Celtics set to play the Raptors on Friday.
- The Wizards have assigned Thomas Bryant to the Capital City Go-Go, announcing the news on their website. Bryant will travel with the Go-Go for their game against the Wisconsin Herd on Friday.
- The Grizzlies recalled then assigned Jevon Carter to the Memphis Hustle, the team’s G League affiliate, announcing the news on Twitter.
- The Magic have recalled Isaiah Briscoe and Melvin Frazier Jr. from the Lakeland Magic, the team tweets. Orlando hosts the Lakers on Sunday.
- Chase Hughes of NBC Sports details how Wizards coach Scott Brooks has consistently altered his rotation this season, keeping his players on edge. Brooks’ changes are in response to the team’s poor start to the 2018/19 season.
After waiving Chasson Randle on Monday, the Wizards are now once again the only team in the NBA with two open roster spots. As we noted last night, the team will have to fill the 14th spot on its roster within the next two weeks, but Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington says not to expect any sort of major move.
Instead, the Wizards could take their time to re-add a 14th player, saving a little money on their projected luxury tax bill every day they keep that roster spot open. When they do get around to signing someone, Randle could be an option to rejoin the team, since he figures to remain in the organization with the Capital City Go-Go, as Standig observes. Following Randle’s release, Scott Brooks said the young guard is “definitely an NBA player.”
Two-way player Jordan McRae has also been cited as a candidate to join the Wizards’ 15-man roster, but he’s dealing with a groin injury at the moment, a source tells Standig. McRae is expected to be available later this week.
Here’s more on the Wizards:
- Jeremy Woo of SI.com lays out the case for why trading John Wall might be in the Wizards’ best long-term interests, pointing to teams like the Heat and Suns as potential trade partners. Woo is the second national reporter to make this argument this month, and his points are similar to ones ESPN’s Zach Lowe made last week — Bradley Beal is too valuable to move him, and Otto Porter wouldn’t bring back much in return.
- Speaking of Porter, the Wizards’ highest-paid player was on the bench in the fourth quarter for a third straight game on Monday, as Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington details. Porter has been shooting well from three-point range lately, but Scott Brooks wants to see a more well-rounded game from the forward, particularly on defense, says Standig. “It’s just the way it is,” Brooks said when asked about Porter on Monday. “Some games Otto is not going to have good games. Tonight isn’t one of them. He’ll bounce back. The guy is a winner. He knows how to play.”
- If the Wizards don’t get back up to .500, they’d join an ignominious group of taxpaying teams with losing records, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic.
- Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report recently spoke to executives and agents to get their thoughts on how to fix the struggling Wizards.
- In case you missed it on Monday, several teams around the NBA are reportedly keeping a close eye on the Wizards to see if they make role players like Markieff Morris, Kelly Oubre, or Jeff Green available via trade.
Randle was in camp with Washington but was waived shortly before the start of the regular season. The 25-year-old did not appear in any games with the Wizards after the team re-signed him to a standard NBA contract in late October to meet roster requirements.
The Stanford University product appeared in 26 games last season with the Sixers and Knicks. He averaged 5.3 PPG and 1.3 APG in 11.5 minutes per game during his brief NBA stint.
With Randle waived, that could pave the way to the Wizards calling up Jordan McRae, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The Wizards signed McRae, 27, to a two-way deal in September. He has appeared in 63 career NBA games, including four with Washington this season.
Whether it’s McRae or someone else, the Wizards will need to sign a 14th player to its roster within two weeks as the CBA stipulates teams cannot carry just 13 on standard deals beyond that time period.
Several NBA teams, including the Sixers, are keeping a close eye on the struggling Wizards, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link).
As Mannix explains, most of those clubs aren’t necessarily interested in pursuing a mega-deal for a star like John Wall or Bradley Beal. Rather, they’re curious to see if the Wizards might become open to moving role players like Markieff Morris, Jeff Green, or Kelly Oubre.
As has been well documented, the Wizards are off to a disappointing start this season, having won just three of their first 12 games. However, the team is about to start a five-game homestand that includes games against the Magic, Cavaliers, and Nets, so there will be an opportunity for Washington to begin climbing back to .500. Two of those teams, Orlando and Brooklyn, are tied for the eighth spot in the East at 6-7, so it’s not as if a playoff berth is out of reach for the Wizards, especially this early in the year.
As such, it would be a surprise if Washington seriously considers moving any of their rotation players within the next several weeks unless it’s in a deal that improves the team right away. If the Wizards continue to struggle, solid players on expiring contracts, like Morris, Green, and Oubre could become more viable trade candidates.
Morris and Green will be unrestricted free agents at season’s end, while Oubre will be eligible for restricted free agency.
Given the expectations surrounding both the Rockets and Wizards heading into the season, it’s safe to say that the two teams have been the most disappointing so far. With the Wizards currently sitting at 3-9 and the Rockets at 5-7, both teams have dealt with cold shooting, injuries, and inconsistent effort on defense as they look up to their conference counterparts in the standings.
The Wizards had a fairly eventful offseason, adding Dwight Howard, Jeff Green and Austin Rivers. The team banked on a healthy John Wall leading a talented and deep roster to a bounce-back season, which hasn’t happened as a result of the team’s poor defense and rebounding. The Wizards currently rank 28th defensively and 29th in both offensive and defensive rebounding, highlighting their inability to get stops.
Meanwhile, the Rockets brought in James Ennis and Carmelo Anthony in the offseason and have struggled with cold shooting and injuries to start the season. James Harden, Ennis, Eric Gordon and Chris Paul have missed several games each due to injuries and suspension. The Rockets currently sit at 28th offensively as a result of their inability to hit shots (they are 26th in effective field goal percentage as a team).
There is certainly still time for both teams to bounce back and recover, but to what extent? Many expected the Rockets to be a top-two team in the Western Conference, while many had the Wizards pegged as a top-six seed out East. While both of these teams may be able to recover enough to make the playoffs, both will likely fall very short of preseason expectations.
With that being said, which team has been more disappointing to start the season? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section!
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Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:
- The Kings assigned rookie big man Harry Giles to their G League affiliate in Stockton, according to a press release from the team.
- The Hornets recalled rookie point guard Devonte’ Graham from the Greensboro Swarm, per a press release from the team.
- The Magic recalled Isaiah Briscoe and Melvin Frazier Jr. from their Lakeland affiliate, according to a tweet from the team’s PR department.
- According to a tweet from the Clippers‘ PR department, the team has assigned rookie guard Jerome Robinson and Sindarius Thornwell to the Agua Caliente Clippers.
- The Timberwolves recalled rookie Keita Bates-Diop from their G League affiliate in Iowa, according to a press release from the team.
- The Grizzlies assigned rookie point guard Jevon Carter to the Memphis Hustle, per a tweet from Grizzlies’ PR.
- The Wizards have assigned Chasson Randle to their G League affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go.
- The Thunder announced in an email that they have assigned Abdel Nader to the Oklahoma City Blue.
- The Pistons recalled both Henry Ellenson and rookie guard Khryi Thomas, according to an email sent from the team.
Despite a rough 3-9 start for the Wizards this season, Candace Buckner writes for The Washington Post that head coach Scott Brooks doesn’t appear to be at risk of losing his job as a result of his strong relationship with the front office and the support he has from his players.
Buckner also points out that it doesn’t hurt Brooks that he is owed $21MM over the remainder of his contract as the team’s roster soars past the luxury tax. Furthermore, Brooks oversees a coaching staff that doesn’t have assistants with much coaching experience in the league, making it more difficult to put one in charge on an interim basis. Finally, Bucker notes that Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis has practiced patience when it comes to making changes regarding basketball operations.
With that being said, should the Wizards continue underperforming, there will likely be significant changes made to the organization.
- With the aforementioned struggling Wizards looking for solutions at any turn, Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington writes that an increased role for Tomas Satoransky may be part of the solution. The team’s ball movement increased when Satoransky was running the point briefly last season, which may be the way to get everyone involved in the offense.