Archive for the ‘ Washington Wizards Blog ’ Category

NBA preason wins and losses don’t matter, but it’s still an important tune-up period for individual players as well as total teams, as they develop chemistry, work on their plays and prepare for the real thing. Here’s Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog).

John Wall

If John Wall is going to have a season in which he propels the franchise to the postseason and rises to all-star status, the lift-off will have to begin with the season opener on Oct. 30 against the Detroit Pistons. Wall’s uneven play during the preseason left much to be desired.

Standing in a hallway at US Bank Arena on Wednesday after the Wizards defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, 101-82, Wall acknowledged that he was disappointed with how he performed. His last game was arguably his worst, as he had more turnovers (four) than points (three) and shot 1-for-7 in 26 minutes.

“I didn’t play too good this whole preseason, to me, to be honest,” Wall said.

Wall averaged 11.2 points and a team-best 6.3 assists, but he struggled with his shot – especially from three-point range – and also had a hard time holding on to the ball. He led the team with 3.43 turnovers per game.

josh childress

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has waived forwards Josh Childress and Pops Mensah-Bonsu and guard Xavier Silas.

Childress appeared in four preseason games averaging 2.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in eight minutes per contest.

Childress said he won’t forget his time with the team. “It was great,” said Childress to the Washington Post of the experience. “To be the first NBA game in Brazil, it was a big deal. I think culturally, not for myself, but for a lot of guys, it was a great experience for guys, to see a different world, a different culture, so the NBA did a great job with that. Without a doubt, over the past month, guys have bonded. There are lot of guys I did not know before I got here and now we’re friends and we’ll keep in touch throughout the year and in the summer.”

Mensah-Bonsu appeared in four preseason games averaging 0.5 points and 1.3 rebounds in five minutes per contest.

Silas appeared in three preseason games averaging 4.0 points in three minutes per contest.

The Wizards roster now stands at 15.

Wizards waive center D`Or Fischer

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has waived center D’Or Fischer.

Fischer appeared in one game for the Wizards this preseason logging three minutes of action vs. Miami on 10/15. Undrafted in 2005, Fischer signed with the Wizards as a free agent on 9/28/13.

The Wizards’ roster now stands at 18.

Wizards rookie Otto Porter still in recovery

Otto Porter Jr. has spent his first week of NBA training camp with the Washington Wizards fulfilling many of his rookie duties, such as collecting Gatorades for veterans and carrying bags upon request. When the team stayed at the George Mason Inn, Porter played highly competitive games of the soccer video game, FIFA ’14, with veteran Nene. And he has shown up to the gym hours after the team practices to work on his individual game with developmental assistant Joe Connelly.

What Porter hasn’t done is practice.

The third overall pick from Georgetown, Porter suffered a strained right hip flexor before the team gathered to begin making preparations for the upcoming season. Porter has been limited to watching from the sideline, riding stationary bikes, stretching with elastic bands and doing flexibility exercises.

“I’m still not in the process of jogging or running. It’s limited. But I’m doing whatever I can,” Porter said. “You definitely want to be out there, but you also want to learn from the side. Cheer them on, tell them to keep on playing, but that’s the best I can do.”

Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis says he is tired of losing

Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has run out of patience with his team’s rebuilding efforts and expects to finally receive a payoff for his investments this season in the form of a playoff appearance.

Before the Wizards held an open practice and scrimmage on Friday at Verizon Center, Leonsis addressed reporters for roughly 30 minutes and put the organization on alert that the excuses of the past are over. The team has all that it needs to compete and he wants to see different results when he grabs his courtside seat.

“I’m tired of losing,” Leonsis said. “It’s not a lot of fun coming to games knowing, ‘This is going to be a tough night.’ We’re just at that point now, it’s the fourth year, we’ve retained our players, we’ve added players, we’ve spent a lot of money. And I expect us to be a playoff-caliber team. I think our fan base expects that too and that’s the pressure I’ve placed on our organization, that we have to meet the expectations of our fans – and it’s time.”

Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

wizards

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed forwards Josh Childress and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, guard Xavier Silas and center D’Or Fischer. We assume these are all non-guaranteed deals that merely bring those players to training camp.

Childress (6-8, 210) is a seven-year NBA veteran who holds career averages of 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 387 games with Atlanta, Phoenix and Brooklyn. He was originally selected by Atlanta with the sixth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. In 2008, after four seasons in Atlanta, Childress signed a contract with Olympiacos in Greece where he averaged 12.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game over two seasons. After being traded to Phoenix and playing two seasons with the Suns (2010-2012), Childress signed as a free agent with Brooklyn last season.

Mensah-Bonsu (6-9, 240) appeared in six games with Cajasol in Spain and nine games with EA7 Armani in Italy during the 2012-13 season. The four-year George Washington product has played 61 career NBA contests with Dallas, San Antonio, Toronto, Houston and New Orleans, averaging 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game. Mensah-Bonsu, a London native, competed in the 2012 Olympic Games for the United Kingdom where he averaged 8.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in four games. He has also played professionaly in France and Turkey.

Silas (6-5, 205) appeared in two games with the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2011-12 season where he averaged 5.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. In the last two seasons with the Maine Red Claws of the D-League, Silas has averaged 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 73 games. He was undrafted out of Northern Illinois University.

Fischer (6-11, 240) finished his collegiate career playing two seasons at West Virginia after transferring from Northwestern State. After going undrafted in 2005, the Philadelphia native has played professionally in Poland, Germany, Belgium, Israel and Spain as well as with Roanoke Dazzle of the D-League in 2005-06 where he averaged 5.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 26 games.

The Wizards’ training camp roster currently stands at 19 players.

Trevor Booker hoping to bounce back for Wizards

Trevor Booker won’t spend too much time dwelling on what went wrong last season. He knows injuries once again spoiled his campaign, limiting his effectiveness and his playing time and resulting in his least productive season with the Washington Wizards.

Booker can’t change what happened, but he used the frustration of a lost season to fuel his offseason workouts in Charlotte, where he focused on getting stronger and more durable for a critical season.

“I don’t watch the film,” Booker said of last season, when he averaged 5.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and shot a career-low 49.1 percent. “I just try to keep it in my head.”

In his three seasons with the Wizards, the 6-foot-8 Booker has been a rugged, high-energy player but staying healthy has always been a greater struggle for the undersize forward than battling for rebounds with larger opponents.

Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

Wizards invite Josh Childress to training camp

Veteran swingman Josh Childress has accepted an invitation to attend Wizards training camp, a league source with knowledge of the situation confirmed Monday.

A versatile, 6-foot-8 swingman, Childress had a promising start to his career, averaging 11.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in his first four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks before leaving the NBA to sign a more lucrative deal in Greece in 2008. The move was expected to open up a more competitive global market for NBA players, but the overseas exodus never followed, and within two years, Childress was eager to come back.

The Wizards expressed interest in Childress when he decided to leave Greece in 2010, but the Stanford product instead elected to sign a five-year deal for the full mid-level exception with the Phoenix Suns. The return hasn’t been very rewarding for Childress.

Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

Bradley Beal

With training camp less than a week away, and the Wizards missing Emeka Okafor and Chris Singleton because of injuries, rising second-year player Bradley Beal has some good advice: Be patient.

He cracks a smile when he says it, but his rookie season with the Wizards was ended prematurely as a result of him playing through sprains to both ankles.

It caused a stress reaction in his lower right leg that kept him from basketball-related activities for most of the off-season, including Las Vegas summer league tournament and competing at the USA Basketball mini-camp.

“Hopefully I can learn my lesson, stop being hard-headed and just sit down when I need to sit down,” said Beal, 20, who missed 26 games.

Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

Chris Singleton

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced that forward Chris Singleton will have outpatient surgery today to repair a Jones fracture to the fifth metatarsal of his left foot. He will be out approximately six to eight weeks.

The injury occurred during a voluntary workout at Verizon Center on Tuesday. The Jones fracture was revealed following an X-Ray performed by team doctors and the surgery will be performed by Dr. Marc Connell and Dr. Ed Magur.

CSN Washington on Singleton: “He’s entering a contract year. The Wizards have the option on whether or not to pick up the final year of his rookie deal after the season and he already had more competition at his small forward spot with the addition of rookie Otto Porter. Singleton had a miserable 2012-13 in which his minutes were sporadic and he averaged just 4.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and shot less than 40% from the field and less than 20% from three-point range. Players have been training and doing individual workouts at Verizon Center since mid-August.”

Singleton averaged 4.1 points and 3.2 rebounds in 57 games for the Wizards last season. He did not miss a game due to injury last season and appeared in every game during the 2011-12 season.

Emeka Okafor out indefinitely with herniated disc in neck

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that center Emeka Okafor will be out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a herniated C4 cervical disc.

“I have worked hard over the summer and was looking forward to the start of training camp next week, so this is a disappointing and frustrating situation for me,” said Okafor. “But I have confidence that my teammates and coaches will be able to continue to take steps towards our goal of making the playoffs and that I will be able to do my part to help them once I return.”

After consulting with several specialists and the team doctors, Okafor will begin rehabilitation to reduce the inflammation and correct the injury. The herniated disc was originally revealed through an MRI after Okafor experienced discomfort in his neck.

“Emeka’s professionalism and dedication to taking care of his body are among the best I have ever seen during my time in this league as a player, coach and executive and I know that he will be diligent in his efforts to return to the court as soon as possible,” said Grunfeld. “Until then, his absence will create opportunities for other players to step up and provide the rebounding and defense that Emeka normally contributes.”

Okafor averaged 9.7 points and 8.8 rebounds in 79 games for the Wizards last season. He missed two games due to the flu and the final game of the season with a sprained right ankle.

washington wizards

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has promoted Tommy Sheppard to senior vice president of basketball operations. In addition, the team has named Marc Eversley as vice president of scouting, Frank Ross as director of player personnel, Greg Ballard as advance pro scout and Thomas Knox as director of player performance and rehabilitation while promoting Ed Tapscott to vice president of player programs, Pat Sullivan to assistant coach, Brett Greenberg to director of basketball analytics/salary cap management, Bryan Oringher to video coordinator and Ryan Richman to assistant video coordinator.

“Tommy is a very respected figure within all circles of basketball, including the NBA, international/Olympic competition and the collegiate ranks,” said Grunfeld. “His experience, combined with the additions we have made and the other well-deserved promotions within the department, gives us a solid foundation to continue improving our team.”

Sheppard is entering his 11th season with the Wizards and his 20th season in the NBA. His new role will see him take on expanded duties with salary cap management, draft preparation, college and pro talent evaluation, statistical analysis and recruitment of free agents while maintaining responsibility for the team’s day-to-day basketball operations. Sheppard spent nine seasons with the Denver Nuggets and has worked with USA Basketball for three Summer Olympic Games and the 2003 Pan American Games.

Eversley joins the Wizards after spending seven years with the Toronto Raptors, including the last two seasons as vice president of college scouting where he spearheaded all collegiate scouting, pre-draft player evaluations and workouts. He also served as the team’s assistant general manager in 2010-11 and as assistant general manager/player development prior to that. Before coming to the Raptors, he spent six years with Nike Canada.

Tapscott enters his seventh season with the Wizards and has over a quarter-century of experience in basketball, including serving as president and chief operating officer of the Charlotte Bobcats and roles as vice president of player personnel/basketball operations and interim president and general manager for the New York Knicks. He will continue to implement player programs and provide scouting for the team.

Ross, a District native and two-time All-Colonial Athletic Association selection at American University, served the previous six seasons as director of east coast scouting for the Oklahoma City Thunder. In that role, he was an integral part in evaluating college and international player talent. Ross served as a scout with the Charlotte Bobcats from 2003-07, evaluating college and minor league player talent.

Ballard, a member of the 1978 Bullets championship team, re-joins the Wizards organization after spending the last 19 years as a scout and coach with Atlanta (nine seasons), Minnesota (nine seasons) and Dallas (one season). Ballard played eight seasons in Washington after being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 1977 NBA Draft, averaging 13.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in 643 games before playing his final two seasons in Golden State.

Knox comes to the Wizards from the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, Fla., where he was manager of performance physical therapy. He brings over six years of experience in athlete performance, injury prevention, physical therapy and strength and conditioning training to the team, and will be responsible for designing programs for player performance, injury prevention and rehabilitation.

Sullivan begins his first season as an assistant on Randy Wittman’s staff after serving the previous campaign as advance scout. He joined the Wizards last season after spending three seasons each as an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons (2008-11) and the New Jersey Nets (2005-08). He participated in three Final Fours as a player and three as a coach at the University of North Carolina before joining the NBA coaching ranks.

Greenberg is entering his fifth season with the Wizards, most recently serving as basketball operations assistant/video coordinator. He came to the Wizards after spending the 2008-09 season with the Miami Heat as a video intern and was as a student manager for the men’s basketball team at Duke. In his new role, Greenberg will lead the Wizards’ analytical efforts while assisting with all salary cap and CBA matters.

Oringher enters his first season with the Wizards as video coordinator after serving the last two years as a video intern. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Maryland where he was a student assistant/video intern for the men’s basketball team under Head Coach Gary Williams (2009-2011).

Richman begins his first season with the Wizards as assistant video coordinator after serving the last two seasons as a graduate assistant for the University of Maryland’s men’s basketball team. He will be primarily responsible for opponent video breakdown and assisting Oringher with all other aspects of the video department.

washington wizards

The Wizards front office is less empty now.

Washington hired former Raptors executive as Marc Eversley as Vice President of Scouting, Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears reported on Thursday.

Eversley enters the front office along with former Oklahoma City Thunder scout Frank Ross. Going the other way, former director of player personnel Pat Connelly, ex-VP of player personnel Milt Newton and Mike Wilson, who headed the organization’s college scouting.

Reported by Ben Standig of CSN Washington

Jan Vesely playing great at EuroBasket

Jan Vesely playing great at EuroBasket

Don’t look now, but Jan Vesely may have found his confidence. So far in Eurobasket 2013, the [Washington] Wizards forward certainly has found his game.

Playing for the Czech Republic along with Washington’s 2012 second-round pick Tomas Satoransky, Vesely leads the entire tournament in rebounding (11.3) and is tied fourth in scoring (18.5). For some context regarding the talent on hand for the tournament in Slovenia, as a scorer Vesely is tied with is San Antonio Spurs star and French guard Tony Parker.

The Czech squad evened its record at 2-2 with a 95-79 over Georgia on Sunday behind 27 points and 10 rebounds from a fist-pumping Vesely. On the assumption that many of you didn’t seek out the game online, there is video of Vesely taking a lob from Satoransky and overall highlights with the 6-foot-11 forward making an aggressive dunking appearance. He finished 12 of 14 from the floor. The 27 points came in only 27 minutes.

Reported by Ben Standig of CSN Washington

Washington Wizards sign Al Harrington

Washington Wizards sign Al Harrington

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed forward Al Harrington.

“Al’s all-around game and reputation as a leader make him a solid fit with our team,” said Grunfeld. “He will give us additional depth and experience in the frontcourt, the ability to stretch defenses and another proven veteran in the locker room.”

In 15 seasons with Indiana, Atlanta, Golden State, New York, Denver and Orlando, Harrington has appeared in 947 career regular season games (445 starts) while averaging 13.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 29.0 minutes per contest. He has shot .445 (4,946-11,111) from the field, .352 (943-2,678) from three-point range and recorded 103 career double-doubles. During the 2011-12 season, Harrington averaged 14.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in 64 games with Denver. The former first round pick has played in 48 career postseason games, averaging 8.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per contest. Harrington’s most productive season came during the 2008-09 campaign where he averaged a career-best 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds in 73 games with Golden State (5) and New York (68). He was originally selected by Indiana with the 25th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft out of St. Patrick’s High School in Elizabeth, N.J.

Harrington was waived by Orlando on August 2, 2013. The Magic originally acquired the veteran forward from Denver on August 10, 2012, as part of a four-team, 12-player deal. He played in 10 games with the Magic last season averaging 5.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 11.9 minutes per contest after missing the first 54 games of the season recovering from a right knee meniscus repair and ensuing staph infection.

Marquez Haynes, who was one of the few bright spots for the Wizards during Las Vegas summer league, has signed a two-year deal to play with Italian club Emporio Armani of Euroleague.

Haynes, a 6-3 combo guard from Texas-Arlington, showed an ability to score and create while playing with the Wizards when they went 2-3 in summer league play.

While he drew “significant interest” in Las Vegas, persons with knowledge of the situation told CSN Washington at the time, he took the sure thing in Italy rather than waiting for NBA training camps to start in late September.

Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

When the Wizards locked up Eric Maynor at the start of free agency more than a month ago, it was a given that A.J. Price wouldn’t return.

Price, who had the best statistical season of his four-year career with 7.7 pints, 3.6 assists and 35% three-point shooting in Washington, surprisingly still is a free agent.

Reached this weekend by CSN Washington, Price concedes that he was prepared to linger on the market and said he wouldn’t rule out jumping abroad if the money is there. He made just less than $900,000 under the veteran minimum after spending his first three with the Indiana Pacers. He thinks his value should be greater.

“No, I’m not surprised,” he said of the Wizards not bringing him back after his only season here.

Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

Some Wizards salary and roster notes

The Wizards already have close to $70 million committed to 14 players and would only be able to sign a player on a minimum salary to stay below the luxury tax line. Owner Ted Leonsis said he is “willing to spend” but would probably want to have a contending team before making the Wizards a tax-paying team for the first time in franchise history — especially with the organization still on the hook for about $7 million to Andray Blatche.

If they look to make trades, Ariza and Okafor are both in the final year of their respective deals and Chris Singleton and/or Jan Vesely could also become expiring contracts if the Wizards decline the fourth-year option on either player. Ariza already believes the Wizards have had an eventful summer after closing out the season by winning 24 of their final 49 games.

Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

John Wall plans to donate $1 million to local charities

Thursday’s event was clearly about him, but Washington Wizards point guard John Wall made sure the appropriate attention was given to the family members and friends who helped him earn a five-year contract extension worth roughly $80 million.

Wall wept as he spoke about his mother. He expressed his gratitude to Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, team president Ernie Grunfeld and Coach Randy Wittman because they “believed in me when everybody else didn’t.” And finally, Wall made a huge financial commitment to city that he hopes to call home through at least 2019.

The day after he signed the third-largest contract in franchise history, Wall announced that he would direct $1 million toward local charities, in conjunction with Leonsis’s Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation.

Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

Former NBA player Craig Ehlo arrested

Local basketball star Craig Ehlo, who starred in the NBA and most recently coached at Eastern Washington University, was arrested early Thursday on a domestic violence charge.

Spokane County sheriff’s deputies arrested Ehlo, 51, on charges of first-degree reckless burning, domestic violence, according to the sheriff’s office. He was booked into Spokane county jail at 7:36 a.m.

The charge is a Class C felony.

Reported by the Spokesman-Review

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