Archive for the ‘ Washington Wizards Blog ’ Category

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

Washington Wizards sign John Wall to contract extension

The Washington Wizards have agreed to a contract extension with guard John Wall, Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today. The Associated Press reports that “two people familiar with the deal say it’s a max deal, worth about $80 million over five years.”

“Since drafting John with the first overall pick, we have been impressed with his maturation, hard work and commitment to our franchise,” said Monumental Sports and Entertainment Founder, Chairman, Majority Owner and CEO Ted Leonsis. “He is the cornerstone of our team, and we have clearly expressed our desire to build around him well before making it official by re-signing him today. We are extremely confident in his leadership abilities and are excited to see the continued improvement of the team.”

According to the Associated Press, “If Wall hadn’t been able to reach an agreement with the Wizards this offseason, he would have become an unrestricted free agent in 2014. With Wall and a pair of players chosen with the No. 3 overall picks in the past two drafts - shooting guard Bradley Beal and small forward Otto Porter - the Wizards are hoping they will be more competitive.”

Wall was originally selected by Washington with the first overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. He holds career averages of 16.9 points, 8.0 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 35.8 minutes per game in 184 career games (172 starts). Those numbers place him with Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson and Chris Paul as the only players in NBA history who have averaged or are currently averaging at least 16 points, eight assists and four rebounds for their career. He is also one of only four players in NBA history (Johnson, Paul and Damon Stoudamire) to average at least 16.5 points, 7.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals over the first three years of their career.

“I am both proud and humbled by the belief that the Wizards organization, the fans and my teammates have shown in me since I arrived here three years ago,” said Wall. “I can promise all of them that I will repay that belief by representing the city of Washington and doing everything I can to get this team back where it belongs.”

Wall, who recently returned from his second consecutive summer as part of the USA Basketball Men’s National Team mini-camp, is also the fastest player (134 games) in NBA history to reach 2,200 points, 1,000 assists, 600 rebounds, 200 steals and 90 blocks (since steals and blocks became an official stat) and is the fastest active player to reach 900 career assists (111 games).

“John’s talent, ability and athleticism are unquestioned, but he is also a special player in terms of his will to win, unselfishness and ability to make his teammates better,” said Grunfeld. “The impact he has in all of those areas was evident last season and we look forward to both him and the team reaching new levels of success together.”

Last season, Wall averaged a career-high 18.5 points, a team-leading 7.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 32.7 minutes per game in 49 games (42 starts) after missing the first 33 games of the season due to a stress injury in his left patella. He joined LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as the only three players in the NBA last season to average at least 22.0 points, 7.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals from March 1 through the end of the season. Wall was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played March 11-17 after averaging 24.0 points, 11.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game while shooting .617 from the field, .800 from three-point range and .857 from the line while leading the Wizards to a 3-1 record. He scored a career-high 47 points vs. Memphis on March 25 and became the first player in NBA history to average at least 24 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, two steals, shoot at least .600 from the field, .800 from three-point range and .850 from the line in a four-game span.

Wizards, John Wall contract extension likely coming soon

By the end of this week, John Wall should have a full commitment from the Wizards.

They’re expected to make him a designated player by extending him a five-year deal, in addition to the $7.45 million he’ll earn in the final year of his scale contract for the 2013-14 season, that will be worth more than $80 million.

This is Wall’s commitment: “My whole goal, this is my fourth year, I need to be in the playoffs. There’s nothing more, nothing else needs to be said about that. I just need to be in the playoffs. Leaving the season early every year is not fun. It’s no excitement. Just go home and watch basketball.”

Wall made those comments several weeks ago in Las Vegas as he watched the Wizards compete in summer league.

Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

Wizards and John Wall begin extension talks

The Wizards have begun talking with John Wall’s agent, Dan Fegan, regarding an extension before the regular season, CSN Washington has learned.

Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, is eligible for up to a four-year, max contract with the Wizards in addition to the final year remaining on his deal that will pay him $7.45 million next season. If he’s named the franchise’s designated player, Wall can get five years.

If the Wizards cannot reach an agreement with him by Oct. 30, talks will have to be tabled until after the 2013-14 regular season.

Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

Washington Wizards hoping Jan Vesely shows some game

The Wizards don’t have much time to wait for Jan Vesely, a 6-11 lottery pick entering this third season and has contributed little.

It all starts with the NBA summer league in Las Vegas, with the Wizards opening play Saturday vs. the Golden State Warriors (CSN, 4 p.m. ET; replay, 7).

Vesely averaged 2.5 points and 2.4 rebounds last season when the Wizards won just 29 games. He has yet to showcase any sort of versatility outside the paint even though he was referred to as a swingman when the Wizards drafted him sixth overall in 2011.

Reported by J. Michael of CSN Washington

Martell Webster

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

“Martell’s versatility and shooting ability combined with his experience and leadership make him a valuable part of our team,” said Grunfeld.  “We are very pleased to have him back both on the court and in the locker room and look forward to his continued contributions to our success.”

Webster averaged a career-high 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 28.9 minutes per game last season with the Wizards. He appeared in 76 contests, including 62 starts, while leading the team in three-point field goal percentage (.422) and three-pointers made with a career-high 139.  He finished 12th in the NBA in three-point field goal percentage and tallied four games with at least five three-pointers made.  The Seattle native posted seven games with 20+ points and scored a career-high 34 points, including a career high-tying seven threes, on March 16 vs. Phoenix.  From March 9-16, Webster posted five straight games of at least four three-pointers made.  He was originally signed as a free agent by the Wizards on August 29, 2012.

In eight seasons with Portland, Minnesota and Washington, Webster holds career averages of 8.9 points and 3.3 rebounds while shooting .419 from the field, .384 from behind the arc and .787 from the line.  He was originally selected by the Trail Blazers with the sixth overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft as an early-entry candidate out of Seattle Prep High School.

Wizards re-sign guard Garrett Temple

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has re-signed guard Garrett Temple.

“Garrett was a good addition to our backcourt rotation last season and we are happy to have him back to give us depth at both guard positions,” said Grunfeld. “His defensive ability, toughness and team-first attitude make him an excellent fit in our system and provide a great example of the culture we are building.”

Temple averaged career-highs of 5.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 51 games, including 36 starts, for the Wizards last season. The undrafted LSU product played 22.7 minutes per game while shooting .407 from the field and .703 from the line. He recorded nine games of 10+ points, including four consecutive double-digit outings from March 13-18. Temple tallied a career-high tying 17 points March 18 at Charlotte and posted eight points, a career-high 11 assists and seven rebounds January 4 vs. Brooklyn. He was originally signed by the Wizards as a free agent on December 25, 2012.

In 102 games (40 starts) with Houston, Sacramento, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Washington, Temple holds career averages of 4.5 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 16.9 minutes. He has shot .396 from the field and .654 from the line.

Wizards sign guard Eric Maynor

Wizards sign guard Eric Maynor

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed guard Eric Maynor. He is backup material and should come off the bench to play behind John Wall.

“Eric is a solid player who has thrived playing behind some of the league’s best point guards,” said Grunfeld. “He will bring stability and experience in that role and add leadership and character off the floor.”

Maynor averaged 4.5 points and 2.8 assists in 64 overall games with Oklahoma City and Portland last season, including 6.9 points and 4.0 assists in 27 game after being traded to the Trail Blazers. The former VCU standout shot .377 from the field, .354 from behind the arc and .726 from the line in 15.0 minutes per contest. Maynor scored in double figures 10 times, including a season-high 20 points on March 8 at San Antonio and he dished out a season-high 12 assists on March 2 vs. Minnesota. The 6-3 guard was traded from Oklahoma City to Portland on February 21 in exchange for the rights to Georgios Printezis and a trade exception.

In four seasons with Utah, Oklahoma City and Portland, Maynor holds career averages of 4.5 points and 3.0 assists in 15.1 minutes per contest. While playing in 236 career games, he has shot .400 from the field, .354 from behind the arc and .731 from the line. Maynor was originally drafted by Utah with the 20th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. On December 22, 2009, he was traded from Utah, along with Matt Harpring, to Oklahoma City for the rights to Peter Fehse.

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