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Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed guards Jaron Johnson, Toure’ Murry and Ish Smith and centers Josh Harrellson and Jaleel Roberts.

Wizards training camp begins on Tuesday, Sept. 29, at SECU Arena on the campus of Towson University. The team will hold their first three practice sessions (Sept. 29-Oct. 1) in Baltimore before returning to Verizon Center for the remainder of camp.

Harrellson (6-10, 275) is a three-year NBA veteran who holds career averages of 3.5 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11.8 minutes in 75 career games with New York, Miami and Detroit. He was originally selected by New Orleans in the second round (45th overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft and then traded the same night to New York. During the 2014-15 season, the Kentucky alum split time between the Chinese Basketball Association, playing 14 games for Chong Qing, and the Puerto Rican professional basketball league (Baloncesto Superior Nacional), playing 44 games for Guayama.

Johnson (6-6, 205) went undrafted in 2014 after spending two seasons at Louisiana Tech. The Tyler, TX native averaged 9.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in 21 minutes per game during his senior campaign in 2013-14. Last season, Johnson appeared in 50 games with Rio Grande Valley of the D-League where he averaged 15.1 points, 1.7 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 29 minutes per game.

Murry (6-5, 195) is a two-year NBA veteran holding career averages of 2.6 points in 7.0 minutes in 56 career games with New York, Utah and Washington. The undrafted Wichita State alum originally signed with the Knicks as a free agent in September of 2013. During the 2014-15 campaign, Murry appeared in five games with Utah and Washington while averaging 1.2 points in 3.6 minutes of action.

Roberts (7-1, 225) went undrafted in 2015 after playing three years at UNC Asheville. Last season as a senior, he averaged 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game. Roberts was a member of the Wizards 2015 Summer League roster that competed in Las Vegas.

Smith (6-0, 175) is a five-year NBA veteran who holds career averages of 3.6 points, 2.3 assists and 1.5 rebounds in 12.3 minutes in 246 career games with Houston, Memphis, Golden State, Orlando, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Oklahoma City and Philadelphia. The Wake Forest product was undrafted in 2010 and signed as a free agent with Houston on August 23, 2010. During the 2014-15 season, Smith appeared in 55 games with Oklahoma City and Philadelphia, averaging 6.1 points, 3.3 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game.

The Wizards’ training camp roster currently stands at 20 players.

Here’s the Washington Post reporting on Wizards star point guard John Wall, who is entering the Team USA mix that is briefly gathering this summer in preparation for next summer’s competition:

John Wall to participate in Team USA mini-camp

John Wall has decided to participate in Team USA’s upcoming minicamp in Las Vegas, the Washington Wizards point guard confirmed Tuesday evening.

Wall, one of 41 invitees, was unsure whether he would join the three-day camp, scheduled for Aug. 11-13, after receiving a late invitation for last year’s training camp in preparation for the FIBA World Cup and being one of first three players cut along with teammate Bradley Beal and Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap. Beal confirmed he is also participating in the minicamp over the weekend. The camp will be held on UNLV’s campus and will conclude with a scrimmage on Aug. 13.

Jared Dudley out after herniated disc surgery

The Washington Wizards announced that forward Jared Dudley had successful surgery today to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. He will begin the rehab process immediately and is expected to return in approximately three to four months.

“During our discussions with Jared and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, we were made aware that he played with pain for a significant part of last season due to this injury,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “After jointly consulting with our team doctors and several specialists, we collectively determined that this proactive approach was the best course of action to have him ready for the upcoming season and to prevent the risk of further injury.”

The procedure was performed by Dr. Drew Dossett in Dallas, TX. Dudley missed four games last season due to a sore lower back in addition to playing through pain caused by the injury.

“Although I’m disappointed that I won’t be on the floor with my new teammates for the start of training camp, I’m confident that having this surgery now will allow me to perform at my best and contribute throughout the season,” said Dudley. “I appreciate the patience and support of the organization and I can assure my teammates and the fans that I will work extremely hard to be on the floor as soon as possible.”

The Wizards acquired Dudley from Milwaukee in exchange for a protected future second round pick on July 9. He averaged 7.2 points and 3.1 rebounds with the Bucks last season, shooting .468 from the field and .385 from three-point range in 72 games (including 22 starts) and hit .571 (8-14) from three-point range over six games in Milwaukee’s first round series with Chicago during the 2015 NBA Playoffs.

Wizards re-sign Drew Gooden

Wizards re-sign Drew Gooden

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has re-signed forward Drew Gooden.

“Drew has been an important part of our success the last two years and we are pleased to welcome him back,” said Grunfeld. “His skills, leadership and outside shooting will continue to add value to our front court rotation.”

Gooden appeared in 51 games (seven starts) for Washington last season. The 6-10 forward averaged 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting .390 from three-point range in 16.6 minutes per game. The 13-year veteran tallied 13 games of 10+ points, scored a season-high 18 points at Miami on 10/29 and recorded two double-doubles. He had five games with at least 10 rebounds and pulled down a season-high 17 caroms vs. Charlotte on 3/27. The former Kansas Jayhawk averaged 9.7 points and 7.1 rebounds in his seven starts for the Wizards this season.

In 10 playoff appearances last season, Gooden averaged 6.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and in 17.8 minutes per game. He originally signed a 10-day contract with the Wizards on February 26, 2014 and then signed a second 10-day on March 8 before signing for the remainder of the season on March 18.

Wizards sign Alan Anderson

Wizards sign Alan Anderson

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Alan Anderson.

According to the Associated Press, it is a $4 million, one-year contract.

“Alan has an all-around game that complements the other players on our roster and gives us another veteran at the small forward position,” said Grunfeld. “His energy, hustle and defensive ability have defined his career and we’re looking forward to him bringing those skills to our team.”

Anderson (6-6, 220) holds career averages of 7.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists while shooting .346 from three-point range. He has appeared in 287 career games, including 66 starts, over six seasons with Charlotte, Toronto and Brooklyn. In 74 games (19 starts) with Brooklyn last season, the Michigan State product averaged 7.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists while shooting .443 from the field and .348 from downtown. In Brooklyn’s first round series against Atlanta in the 2015 NBA Playoffs, Anderson averaged 11.1 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting .610 from the floor and .625 from behind the arc.

After going undrafted in 2005, the Minnesota native was signed as a free agent by Charlotte and played with the Bobcats in parts of two seasons before playing overseas in Italy, Russia, Croatia, Israel, Spain and China. He returned to the NBA in 2011 when he signed with Toronto, and averaged 10.4 points and 2.2 rebounds over two seasons with the Raptors. He signed as a free agent with the Nets prior to the 2013-14 campaign.

Bucks trade Jared Dudley to Wizards

jared dudley

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced yesterday that the team has acquired forward Jared Dudley from Milwaukee in exchange for a protected future second round pick.

“Jared’s versatility and shooting ability will give us depth at both forward positions and allow us to use him in a variety of lineups,” said Grunfeld. “We are also looking forward to the leadership and veteran presence that he will bring both on the court.”

Dudley (6-7, 225) holds career averages of 8.5 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting .468 from the field and .396 from three-point range over eight-plus seasons with Charlotte, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Clippers, and Milwaukee. He has appeared in 595 career games while earning 212 starts. The 22nd overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft averaged 7.2 points and 3.1 rebounds with the Bucks last season.

During the 2014-15 campaign, Dudley shot .468 from the field and .385 from downtown in 72 games, including 22 starts, and hit .571 (8-14) from three-point range over six games in Milwaukee’s first round series with Chicago during the 2015 NBA Playoffs. His best season came in 2011-12 when he averaged 12.7 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting a career-high .485 from the floor in 65 games with Phoenix. Dudley was teammates with current Wizards center Marcin Gortat for two-plus seasons in Phoenix. In 29 career playoff games, he has averaged 5.9 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting .449 from the floor and .456 from three-point range.

Wizards sign guard Gary Neal

Wizards sign guard Gary Neal

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed guard Gary Neal.

“Gary is a proven veteran who will bring us perimeter shooting and experience,” said Grunfeld. “Adding him to our rotation makes our backcourt rotation deeper and more versatile.”

Neal (6-4, 210) holds career averages of 9.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting .381 from three-point range over 310 career games (including 29 starts), with San Antonio, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Minnesota. In 54 games with the Hornets and Timberwolves last season, he averaged 10.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting .305 from downtown. After being traded to Minnesota, Neal averaged 11.8 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting .355 from long distance. The Baltimore native has shot .355 or better from three-point range in four of his five NBA seasons.

After going undrafted out of Towson, Neal played internationally in Spain, Italy and Turkey before making his NBA debut with San Antonio in 2010. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2011 after averaging 9.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists while shooting .419 from three-point range in 80 games with the Spurs. In 45 career playoff games with San Antonio and Charlotte, he has averaged 7.5 points and 2.0 rebounds while shooting .345 from behind the arc. During San Antonio’s 2013 NBA Finals run, Neal averaged 6.8 points and 2.1 rebounds while shooting .348 from downtown in 21 games.

Clippers, Paul Pierce agree to deal

Now this is the kind of signing that is worth paying attention to. A move where a really good team that has a realistic eye on the NBA championship adds a key veteran who could mean the difference in a tightly-contested playoff battle against another really good team. Paul Pierce to the Clippers. Here’s the Los Angeles Times reporting:

Clippers, Paul Pierce agree to deal

The Clippers gained a giant lure in their pursuit of DeAndre Jordan on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with Paul Pierce on a three-year, $10.5-million contract that will reunite the veteran small forward with Coach Doc Rivers.

Pierce and Rivers won an NBA title together with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and will almost surely try to pitch Jordan on their collective potential with the Clippers, who will get the last word in the bidding for the free-agent center Thursday.

The Clippers will sign the former Inglewood High star with their so-called mini-midlevel exception, their primary financial tool in free agency, and will likely slot him into the starting small forward spot vacated by Matt Barnes, who was traded last month.

Pierce, who turns 38 in October, is a 10-time All-Star who gives the Clippers some championship experience in their starting lineup and a clutch presence who hit a game-winning shot in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season for the Washington Wizards.

I support pretty much any free agent move that shakes things up in an interesting way. This gives us one more thing to look forward to next season.


Paul Pierce to enter free agency

It’s very possible that Paul Pierce is gone from DC

Free agent negotiations begin Wednesday, and the Washington Wizards must deal with possibly losing veteran forward Paul Pierce. Here’s CSN Washington reporting:

Paul Pierce to enter free agency

With the Wizards now knowing for certain that Paul Pierce will opt out of the second year of his contract, they’ll proceed as if he’s not returning and secure a replacement (It may be a longshot but he still could re-sign here and get 120% of last season’s $5.5 million salary).

They don’t have any room under the salary cap so free agents such as DeMarre Carroll or Khris Middleton, blossoming, younger small forwards on the market who are in line for career paydays, are out of the question. The Wizards would have to acquire players of that caliber through a sign-and-trade but don’t have the assets to facilitate such a deal.

They have to make it work with two salary-cap exceptions at their disposal: Mid-level of just more than $5 million (used to sign Pierce) and the bi-annual exception of just more than $2 million (used two seasons ago to sign Eric Maynor).

In regular game situations, Pierce, well past his prime at this point, is replaceable. But as he showed in the playoffs, when clutch shots need to be hit, Pierce is as good as anyone in the league.

Paul Pierce may enter free agency

Paul Pierce may enter free agency

Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting on Wizards forward Paul Pierce — and this is still unofficial but he will reportedly test the free agent market:

Paul Pierce may enter free agency

Washington Wizards forward Paul Pierce has decided to play next season but is expected to bypass his $5.5 million player option, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. The decision, which is due by the end of the month, would make Pierce a free agent for the second straight year.

Opting out opens the possibility of Pierce playing his 18th NBA season elsewhere but does not completely eliminate the prospect of Pierce returning to Washington. Pierce could choose to re-sign.

The most probable destination outside of the District would be to go back home to play for the Los Angeles Clippers and reunite with Doc Rivers, his coach for nine seasons with the Boston Celtics. Los Angeles has limited salary cap flexibility and will likely only be able to offer Pierce, who celebrates his 38th birthday in October, the taxpayer mid-level exception of $3.37 million for next season, but are closer to winning a championship than the Wizards even in the loaded Western Conference.

DeJuan Blair spent most of this season watching from the bench

Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting on Wizards backup forward/center DeJuan Blair, who played a very small role on the team this season:

DeJuan Blair got few minutes from Wizards this season

Logging just 29 game appearances, he averaged 1.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 45.6 percent shooting in 6.2 minutes. Now entering the second portion of his three-year deal, Blair’s days as a Wizard appear to be numbered as the team has made clear its intentions of playing faster and smaller.

The high point for Blair came during a Feb. 5 loss in Charlotte, when Seraphin and Gooden were inactive and the bench was depleted. Blair played a season-high 15 minutes, scoring four points, grabbing five rebounds and setting a vicious screen on an unsuspecting Hornets player.

“I just try to bring physicality to the team, to the game, and I think I did my part,” Blair said at the time.

He also saw time against his former team, Dallas, in a Dec. 30 blowout loss, recording nine points on 4-for-6 shooting and five rebounds. But across the final 31 regular-season games, Blair was “DNP-Coach’s Decision” in 17 contests. What’s more, the 26-year-old did not see action in the playoffs.

Marcin Gortat says personal issues distracted him this season

Here’s the Washington Post blog reporting on Wizards center Marcin Gortat, who made some partially-revealing comments about his play this season:

marcin gortat was dealing with personal issues

Sometime around the all-star break, the gregarious Marcin Gortat who had captivated the District vanished. After several months of humorous, insightful and candid takes, he politely rushed through interviews if he did them at all. When asked twice over the final weeks of the season to assess his individual campaign, Gortat said he would address his personal situation during his exit interview. That came Monday.

“I would say in the eight years of my career, the eighth year was pretty much the toughest one from a personal standpoint,” said Gortat, who completed the first of a five-year, $60 million contract. “I had some issues during the season and that definitely didn’t help me to focus on basketball. That part is on me, definitely on me. I can’t blame anybody for that. I’m not going to talk about those issues. That’s why we call this personal business.”

Kevin Seraphin wants a starting role, somewhere

Here’s CSN Washington reporting on 6-10, 278-pound Wizards backup center Kevin Seraphin, who feels ready to step up into a starting role, whether it’s with his current squad or someplace else:

Kevin Seraphin wants a starting role, somewhere

Barring a major roster overhaul that creates room for Kevin Seraphin and a bump in salary, his time with the Wizards, who acquired him in a trade five years ago on draft night, will end.

In his most significant playoff duty of his four-year career, Seraphin came in for an ill Marcin Gortat on Friday and scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 28 minutes in a series-closing 94-91 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of the East semifinals.

Seraphin, who signed a one-year qualifying offer last summer for $3.9 million to remain in Washington, is eager to spread his wings.

“I definitely want a chance to be a starter,” Seraphin, who matched his career high with 79 regular-season appearances but didn’t start a game for the 46-win Wizards, told “I definitely want to be somewhere I have a chance to be a starter.”

Wizards put up fight but fall to Hawks

Here’s CSN Washington reporting on the Wizards, whose offseason has begun:

Yes, the Eastern Conference semifinals with the Atlanta Hawks, was super duper close, painfully so for the Washington Wizards. Historically so at that. The last four games were decided by five points or less. That hadn’t happened in an NBA playoff series since 2006. The Wizards lost the last three of those games en route to dropping the series 4-2.

John Wall’s fractured left hand and wrist stands out as the obvious “What if” question of the series. Even with the All-Star point guard missing three games and playing the last two with those five fractures, Washington took Atlanta, a team that ran away with the Eastern Conference regular season title, to the brink.

Get past Wall and the question is what differences led to the Wizards thinking about summer vacations instead of meeting LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals.

“I guess little details,” center Marcin Gortat said after revealing details of food poisoning that kept him on the bench for most of the series finale. “Little details in our game. Scrappy little details and that’s why we get punished for I guess.”

John Wall returns in Wizards Game 5 loss to Hawks

Nobody expected injured Washington Wizards guard John Wall to return during these playoffs. But yesterday it happened, and he gave it his all, though the Wizards fell slightly short to the Atlanta Hawks. Here’s CSN Washington reporting:

John Wall returns in Wizards Game 5 loss to Hawks

John Wall threw himself on the floor with 32.6 seconds left, and the score tied at 78, for a loose ball, corralled it and called a timeout. He slapped the floor repeatedly with his good hand, the right one, as he sensed a Game 5 victory was near Wednesday.

But a 3-2 series lead for the Wizards is oh-so-far away. Wall blocked Dennis Schroder’s shot on the final play as he drove to the basket, but Al Horford darted in like a bowling ball to send bodies scattering to grab the loose ball for the putback with two seconds left and an 82-81 victory for the Atlanta Hawks at Phillips Arena.

“It felt great. I didn’t have any problems with my hand,” Wall said after having 15 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals. “I was able to play aggressive and make plays so I was fine.”

Hopefully people can handle the truth

Here’s the Boston Herald reporting on Paul Pierce, who as a member of the Washington Wizards is currently making life difficult for the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs:

Paul Pierce plans to stay in basketball after playing days end

Someday, Pierce may have to deal with deals of his own. He won’t be through with basketball when he’s through playing, and, yes, he’d very much be interested in returning to the Celtics to work and learn under Ainge when he’s done bedeviling younger opponents.

“Truthfully, I love the game,” he said. “I want to have my hands on some aspect of the game, whether it be management, ownership. I don’t know right now about coaching. I’m not sure yet. But I definitely want to be involved with the game in some form or fashion.

“It’s definitely a tough business,” he added. “It’s definitely hard work that Danny has to do. He has to think about so many things that come into play when you’re a GM. It’s the relationship you have with the players, it’s the future, it’s about the money and the salary cap. You’ve got to make difficult decisions all the time. And as bad as he wants to win, he understands it’s a building process also, until you can make your move.

“It’s like playing chess. You know, sometimes you’ve got to play your pawns, like he did in ’07, until he made his big move to make the trades. . . . Sometimes it works, and sometimes it don’t.”

Asked if he could see himself in that job, Pierce grins. “I think I’m a fairly good chess player.”

No reason yet to expect a John Wall return in these playoffs

There’s no real reason to expect a John Wall return from injuries during the ongoing NBA playoffs, but a bit of hope is still being kept alive. Here’s CSN Washington reporting:

No reason yet to expect a John Wall return in these playoffs

The fractured left and and wrist of John Wall is starting to look better, but there’s no indication that he’s anywhere close to practicing or playing again as the Wizards prepare Sunday for Game 4 with the Atlanta Hawks on Monday at Verizon Center (TNT, 7 p.m. ET).

“Good. Swelling, again, down,” Wittman said when asked if his All-Star point guard had done anything on the practice court following Saturday’s Game 3 win. “Its heading in the right direction so again we’re not to the point of him doing anything on the floor yet or of that nature. It’s heading to a situation where hopefully he can get the ball in his hand, get the feeling, see how that feels and then you take those steps like that.”

It was a play added to the Washington Wizards’ offense a day earlier, and it was drawn up for a guy, Paul Pierce, who’s been doing this sort of thing for the better part of two decades.

With three defenders near him, Pierce made a fallaway, 21-foot jumper that went in off the backboard at the buzzer to lift the Wizards over the Atlanta Hawks 103-101 on Saturday night, despite playing without John Wall and after letting a 21-point lead evaporate…

Schroder and Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 18 points apiece. … Paul Millsap was out of the starting lineup because of flu-like symptoms and looked lethargic once he was on the court. He had eight points and two rebounds.

– Associated Press

Slight hope that injured John Wall can return during these playoffs

Here’s CSN Washington reporting on John Wall, who has multiple hand and wrist injuries and is still presumably done for the playoffs:

Slight hope that injured John Wall can return during these playoffs

While the end appears near for John Wall this postseason, he’s not giving up hope that he could actually play again in this series with the Atlanta Hawks that is tied 1-1 with Game 3 Saturday at Verizon Center. Or at some point in the playoffs if the Wizards can advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

Friday, he avoided giving any specifics on a timetable for his return from a left hand and wrist that has five non-displaced fractures.

“It’s moving better but there’s still pain there,” said Wall, who led the Wizards to a 104-98 win in Game 1 with 18 points and 13 assists. “I haven’t tried dribbling again so I’ll probably try it tomorrow. Just the same pain has been there even if the swelling goes down a little bit.

“I have no idea (if I can play again). Depends on my swelling and how all the pain goes away. I finished Game 1 with it not knowing I had anything wrong and then I came back and got evaluations so I have no idea.”

John Wall has multiple wrist and hand fractures

John Wall has multiple wrist and hand fractures

Washington Wizards guard John Wall underwent multiple examinations yesterday that revealed five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist and hand.

Wall and the team are currently in consultation with multiple physicians and specialists to determine the best course of action and his playing status has yet to be determined. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available.

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