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Wizards re-sign Drew Gooden

drew gooden

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

“The addition of Drew was a big part of our success late last season and we are excited to have him back with us,” said Grunfeld. “His skills will help to solidify our front court rotation and his experience will help us continue to grow as a team.”

Gooden appeared in 22 games for Washington last season, averaging 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 18.0 minutes per contest. The 12-year veteran originally signed a 10-day contract with the Wizards on Feb. 26, signed a second 10-day on March 8 and then signed for the remainder of the season on March 18. Gooden had 12 games of 10+ points, scored a season-high 21 vs. Brooklyn on 3/15 and pulled down a season-high 11 rebounds at the Los Angeles Lakers on 3/21.

In 10 playoff games last season, Gooden averaged 3.4 points 4.2 rebounds in 15 minutes of action. His best postseason outing came in Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where he posted 12 points and 13 rebounds in Washington’s win at Indiana.

In 12 seasons with Memphis, Orlando, Cleveland, Chicago, Sacramento, San Antonio, Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee and Washington, the former Kansas Jayhawk has appeared in 709 career regular season games while averaging 11.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 26.7 minutes per game. In 54 career postseason games, he has averaged 9.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in 24.8 minutes per contest.

Wizards sign Paul Pierce

Wizards sign Paul Pierce

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Paul Pierce.

“We are very happy to welcome Paul to our organization and add his championship experience and history of clutch play to our team,” said Grunfeld.  “He will be a good fit alongside our young, dynamic backcourt while his presence and leadership will make a difference for us both on and off the court.”

Pierce, a 10-time NBA All-Star, joins the Wizards with career averages of 21.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals while shooting .447 from the field, .370 from three-point range and .807 from the line in 1,177 career games with Boston and Brooklyn.  He currently ranks as the 18th leading scorer in NBA history (25,031 points) and ranks fourth among active players in NBA scoring history (behind only Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett).  The 6-7 forward also ranks fifth all-time in NBA history in three-point field goals made (1,935) and fourth all-time in NBA history in three-point field goals attempted (5,228).

In addition to his regular season history, Pierce brings 148 games of postseason experience to Washington.  He led Boston to the 2008 NBA Championship, earning Finals MVP honors after averaging 21.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, and helped them return to the 2010 Finals.  Pierce holds career postseason averages of 20.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.3 steals.  His 3,007 points ranks him 23rd in NBA playoff history (seventh among active players) while his 148 games ranks him ninth among active players.

Pierce was originally drafted by Boston with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft.  He finished his Celtics career ranked among the storied franchise’s all-time leaders in several categories, including free throws made and attempted (first), points scored, points per game and field goals attempted (second), games played, minutes played and field goals made (third), assists (fourth) and rebounds (seventh).  He stands with Larry Bird and John Havlicek as the only players in Celtics history to score 20,000 points.

Boston traded Pierce to Brooklyn as part of a nine-player deal on July 12, 2013.  He averaged 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting .451 from the floor and .373 from three-point range in 75 games for the Nets last season.

Wizards land DeJuan Blair

Wizards land DeJuan Blair

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has acquired center DeJuan Blair from Dallas. Washington will send Dallas the rights to Emir Preldzic, a 2009 second round draft pick, who was acquired in the three-team Antawn Jamison trade in February of 2010.

“DeJuan gives us a tough inside presence who can score and rebound at both frontcourt positions,” said Grunfeld. “His addition makes our bench even deeper and will allow us to be flexible with our lineups.”

In five seasons with San Antonio and Dallas, Blair has appeared in 366 career regular season games (179 starts) while averaging 7.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game.
He has shot .529 from the field and has 36 career double-doubles. His most productive season was in 2010-11 when he averaged 8.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. Last season with Dallas, Blair appeared in 78 games (13 starts) and averaged 6.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.6 minutes per game.

The former Pittsburgh standout has appeared in 42 career postseason games with San Antonio and Dallas. During the 2014 playoffs with the Mavericks, the 6-7 big averaged 6.7 points and 6.2 rebounds, helping Dallas force San Antonio to seven games in the first round. He holds career playoff averages of 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per contest. Blair signed with Dallas as a free agent on August 7, 2013. He was originally selected by San Antonio in the second round (37th overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft.

Paul Pierce set to join Wizards

Here’s ESPN.com reporting that Paul Pierce is leaving the Brooklyn Nets and linking up with John Wall and the Washington Wizards:

Paul Pierce set to join Wizards

After a short stay in Brooklyn, Paul Pierce is heading to the Washington Wizards.

Sources close to the process told ESPN.com on Saturday that Pierce has committed to sign a two-year, $11 million deal with the Wizards, who moved swiftly to find a title-tested replacement for Trevor Ariza after Ariza struck an agreement earlier in the day to join the Houston Rockets.

The contract, sources said, has a player option after this season that will allow Pierce, 36, to return to free agency next summer if he chooses.

The short-term nature of the deal, meanwhile, could help Washington preserve some flexibility for its dream scenario of pursuing DC native Kevin Durant when the current Oklahoma City Thunder star is scheduled to be a free agent in the summer of 2016.

Marcin Gortat re-signs with Wizards

Marcin Gortat re-signs with Wizards

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has re-signed center Marcin Gortat. According to multiple reports, the contract is for $60 million over five years. That’s a pretty sizable investment, and more than Gortat was expected to receive.

“Re-signing Marcin was a top priority for us this summer so that we could maintain continuity and improve on what we accomplished last season,” said Grunfeld. “His scoring ability, rebounding and defensive presence are matched only by his work ethic, leadership and personality, which all combine to make him an excellent fit in what we are trying to build moving forward.”

Gortat averaged 13.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 33 minutes per game last season with the Wizards. He shot .542 from the field while appearing in a career-high-tying 81 games. The Polish native led the team with 37 double-doubles and was second in the NBA in double-doubles (20) after the All-Star break. He finished in the top 10 among centers in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, assists, blocks and double-doubles. Gortat had five games of 20+ points (including a career-high 31 at Toronto on 3/31) and 22 games of 12+ rebounds (including a career-high-tying 18 at Miami on 3/10).

In 11 playoff games last season, Gortat averaged 13.0 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while shooting .492 from the field. He raised those averages to 14.8 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting .578 from the field in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and notched new playoff career highs with 31 points and 16 rebounds in the Wizards’ Game Five win at Indiana.

In seven seasons with Orlando, Phoenix and Washington, Gortat holds career averages of 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 438 career games. He has shot .545 from the field while playing 24.2 minutes per game. He was acquired by the Wizards along with Shannon Brown, Malcom Lee and Kendall Marshall from Phoenix in exchange for Emeka Okafor and a protected 2014 first round pick on October 25, 2013. Gortat was originally selected with the 57th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by Phoenix, who then traded his rights to Orlando for future considerations.

Martell Webster out 3-5 months after back surgery

The Washington Wizards announced today that forward Martell Webster had successful microdisectomy surgery yesterday to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. He will begin the rehab process immediately and is expected to miss approximately three to five months before resuming basketball activity.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins Jr. in Los Angeles following consultation with team doctors earlier in the week. Webster sustained the injury during a routine workout at the Wizards’ practice facility last week.

Webster averaged 9.7 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting .392 from three-point range in 78 games (13 starts) for the Wizards last season.

michael redd

The Washington Wizards had an excellent season, made the playoffs, and appear to be moving in the right direction. And now their head coach has been rewarded for it.

Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed head coach Randy Wittman to a contract extension. According to CSN Washington, the deal is for three years, $9 million total, “but the final year isn’t fully guaranteed.”

“We are pleased with the progress the team has made on the court and with the culture we have been able to build with Randy as our head coach,” said Grunfeld. “We will look to continue that momentum with him deservedly leading this group of dedicated and hard-working players.”

Washington won its first playoff series since 2005, defeating the Chicago Bulls in five games in the first round. The team advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals where they fell in six games to the Indiana Pacers, marking the first time since the 1978-79 season that the team had won two games in the second round of the playoffs.

“This team and this organization have made significant strides over the last two-and-a-half seasons and I’m excited to be a part of the next step in that process,” said Wittman. “The players and staff all feel that this is the beginning of something special and we’re dedicated to building on our positive accomplishments while striving to improve and reach the next level of success.”

The Wizards finished 44-38 in 2013-14, representing a 15-game turnaround. The team’s 44 victories were the most since they won 45 in 2004-05, while their 22 road victories were tied for the most in the Eastern Conference and marked the highest team total since 1972-73 (23).

“Randy’s leadership and preparation allowed him to implement and build an unselfish team mentality over the last several seasons where defense comes first and every player is held accountable,” said Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis. “The result is a Washington Wizards team that proudly represents our fans and our city both on and off the court and has us looking eagerly toward what we can accomplish moving forward.”

Wittman has led the Wizards from the sidelines since taking over the team on January 24, 2012. During his two full seasons at the helm, the team has ranked in the top 10 in several defensive categories during the regular season including opponent field goal percentage (fifth in 2012-13), blocks (seventh in both seasons), opponent points per game (ninth in 2013-14 and eighth in 2012-13), opponent three-point field goal percentage (sixth in 2013-14 and 10th in 2012-13), turnovers (fourth in 2013-14) and opponent offensive rebounding (fourth in 2013-14.

In addition, the Wizards were one of seven teams (Indiana, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Memphis, L.A. Clippers and Chicago) to rank in the top 10 in defensive efficiency in each of the last two seasons (seventh in 2013-14 and fifth in 2012-13).

On offense, the Wizards have ranked in the top 10 in three-point field goal percentage (fifth in 2013-14 and 10th in 2012-13) and assists per game (eighth in 2013-14).

Wittman earned a place in the record books during the team’s postseason run, as he became just the fifth head coach in NBA history to win his first three career NBA road playoff games and joined Pat Riley as the only other coach in NBA history to go 5-1 in his first six career playoff matchups on the road.

Video: John Wall top plays of season

Watch video highlights of Wizards guard John Wall’s top plays of the 2013-14 season:

Here’s CSN Washington on the difficult scenario where a player enjoys the team he just played for, and had a big role, and enjoyed success, yet may wind up moving on because that’s things often work:

Future of Trevor Ariza and Wizards is unclear

Whether or not Trevor Ariza comes back to the Wizards won’t be decided by one factor. Everyone knows that he loves the West coast, that he wants to win now and that his families mean everything to him. Yes, both.

“My family is definitely the most important thing to me before basketball, everything. That plays a big factor into a log of things,” Ariza said Friday after he packed up his locker and prepared to leave Verizon Center following the Wizards’ playoff elimination to the Indiana Pacers the previous night. “But when you build something with people that’s hard to let go, too. What we built in this locker room this season, this is a beautiful thing to me. I really enjoyed playing with those guys. I love those dudes like they’re my brothers.”

Ariza, who made $7.7 million, will be an unrestricted free agent and will have options.

Wednesday in Indiana, the Pacers beat the Wizards 86-82 to tie their second-round playoff series at one win apiece. In the victory, Pacers center Roy Hibbert, who has famously struggled in the playoffs as well as for much of the second half of the NBA regular season, stepped up and shot 10-of-13 for 28 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 33 minutes. Here are some Game 2 Hibbert video highlights:

NBA investigates Twitter threats sent to Wizards

The Wizards say the NBA has investigated a person who made threats to the team on Twitter during its first-round series against the Chicago Bulls.

Center Marcin Gortat said Thursday after practice that there was “one gentleman who really threatened us, actually made some terrorist threats to us.”

Gortat, who is from Poland, said that “he was saying there was a bomb on the plane and stuff, that my country’s going to get bombed and all my family’s going to die, just stuff like that.”

– Associated Press

Here’s some NBA video footage of John Wall and the Wizards, who on Tuesday eliminated the Bulls in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs:

Even with the team’s “X-factor” suspended, the Washington Wizards had a No. 42 sitting next to the bench. The 57-year-old with graying hair couldn’t box out or grab a rebound, but owner Ted Leonsis waved his red towel and egged on a cheering crowd that chanted “Free Nene!”

The Wizards did just fine without the suspended Brazilian forward. They scored the first 14 points and beat the Chicago Bulls 98-89 on Sunday to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference series.

“I thought it was pretty hilarious that Ted had Nene’s jersey on,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. “It kind of threw me off for a minute, but then I looked and seen it was Ted.”

Nene or not, the Wizards did what they’ve done all series: Take a quick lead and force the Bulls to use up energy trying to catch up. It was 15-8 in Game 3, 29-12 in Game 2, 19-13 in Game 1. Washington, seeking to win a playoff series for only the third time since the 1970s, can finish off the Bulls on the road in Game 5 on Tuesday night…

Trevor Ariza, getting some of the early looks that might have gone to Nene, scored a career playoff-high 30 points, making 6 of 10 3-pointers. Beal had 18 points, and John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who forced 16 turnovers and committed only six.

– Associated Press

Washington Wizards forward-center Nene has been suspended one game without pay for head-butting and grabbing guard-forward Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls around the neck with both hands and attempting to throw him down, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, in which Nene received two technical fouls and was ejected from the game, occurred with 8:28 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 100-97 loss to the visiting Chicago Bulls last night at Verizon Center. Nene will serve his suspension tomorrow when the Wizards host Chicago.

To view video of the play, click on this link.

Tuesday in Chicago, the Washington Wizards beat the Bulls 101-99 in overtime to take a 2-0 series lead. Wizards guard Bradley Beal shot 9-of-20 for 26 points, 7 rebounds and two steals in the win. John Wall is the star guard in the Wizards backcourt, but Beal is on the rise. Here are some video highlights:

Here’s the Washington Post reporting on the Wizards, who have played two NBA playoff games against the Bulls, both in Chicago, and won both. Nice position to be in:

The Washington Wizards had to wait six years to get back to the postseason. But they only needed two games to really get introduced to playoff basketball, with more physical play, short tempers and extreme rallies. In the intense cauldron of United Center — a place that has devoured more seasoned units — the Wizards refused to relent after watching a 17-point lead turn into a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and didn’t crumble when they were betrayed by missed free throws and calls that went against them.

The Wizards have been through several ups and downs during the regular season, and they staged a game against the Chicago Bulls that matched those emotional oscillations. Relying upon the scoring of its youngest player, Bradley Beal, and the guile of Nene, Washington took a two-games-to-none lead in this best of seven series with a 101-99 overtime victory in which it outscrapped and outwilled the Bulls.

“I wanted our guys to be greedy,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said. “Nothing is guaranteed. We’ve got two wins, you’ve got to get to four. We have to continue to understand how we won these games and the way we went about it.”

Beal scored a game-high 26 points and Nene scored 17, with six coming in overtime, as the Wizards accomplished their mission of returning to Washington for Friday’s Game 3 with two wins. Grasping to a two-point lead in the closing seconds, Nene fouled out while contesting Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich on a driving layup, sending the former Wizard to the free throw line with 2.4 seconds remaining.

Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times reporting on the Wizards, who are set to face the Bulls in the first round of the NBA playoffs:

It’s a nice badge to carry into the playoffs: The team no one wants to play.

It even has a tinge of intimidation to it, that is, if the Bulls were actually facing a team that was susceptible to intimidation.

But they aren’t.

The Washington Wizards have little to lose, especially when all they’ve been hearing is they’re destined for elimination by next week.

“Why would they pick us?’’ Wizards center Marcin Gortat told the Washington Post on Friday when asked about all the predictions from the so-called experts favoring the Bulls. “First of all, Chicago is an experienced team. They have a lot of good players every year. The pressure is on them. I don’t understand why we should be mad. This is a good team, and we’ve just got to beat them. We’ve got to focus on our team.’’

Here’s the Washington Post Blog reporting on Wizards point guard John Wall:

The prevailing feeling both inside and outside the Washington Wizards locker room is this: the team will only go as far as John Wall leads it.

Such a burden is of course natural for a former No. 1 overall draft pick who signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension last summer. But Wall’s status as franchise player stretches far beyond the figurative sense and into the statistical realm, where his leadership responsibilities have emerged in several categories this season.

With two games left in the season, Wall has positioned himself to finish as the NBA’s total assists leader with 699, which is 21 ahead of Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio. When considering that Rubio plays alongside All-Star Kevin Love and that Chris Paul, who leads the league with 10.7 assists per game, is teammates with high-flying All-Star Blake Griffin, Wall’s position among the league’s top playmakers is that much more notable.

Not only does Wall rank third overall with 17.2 assist opportunities per game (passes to a teammate in which the teammate attempts a shot, and if made, would be an assist), he’s also third in points created by assist per game with 21.2, according to NBA.com’s Player Tracking stats.

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The Washington Wizards have partnered with Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic to help grant the wish of 10-year-old Wizards fan Amaris Jackson. Amaris, who is battling renal cell carcinoma and will undergo surgery in the near future to remove a tumor in her lungs, will be signed by the team for this weekend’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, April 12. Amaris, who is point guard on her school’s basketball team, is from Washington, DC.

Amaris will join Coach Randy Wittman and the entire team for the pregame shootaround followed by a personalized basketball workout with assistant coach Ryan Saunders. Later that evening, she will join Monumental Sports & Entertainment majority owner, chairman and CEO Ted Leonsis and Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld for the signing of a one-day contract. Amaris will lead the team onto the court prior to the game against the Milwaukee Bucks and will take part in various in-game activities throughout the night.

The Charlotte Bobcats have leapfrogged another team, increasing the odds that their return to the playoffs won’t be a token appearance.

The Washington Wizards have dropped a spot and are having issues. Or, as center Marcin Gortat put it: “The way we play right now, we ain’t going to beat anybody, including Milwaukee.”

The Bobcats blew a 20-point, first-half lead to the Wizards on Wednesday night before winning 94-88 in overtime, moving Charlotte into position for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

“To go from basically the worst team going to the six seed, I mean, it shows a lot,” said guard Kemba Walker, who scored the only field goal in overtime for either team.

The win left both teams at 40-38 with four games remaining, but Charlotte won the season series 3-1 and therefore holds the tiebreaker. Both teams want to stay out of seventh or eighth to avoid a first-round series against the two conference powerhouses, the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers.

– Associated Press

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