Reports: Wizards talking to their No. 1 priority, Martell Webster, also pursuing Antawn Jamison

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The Wizards got their backup point guard, a much-needed addition that will come in the form of Eric Maynor.

But Washington has bigger goals in free agency, mainly retaining small forward Martell Webster.

Webster, 26, had a breakout season last year, his first with the Wizards. He posted career highs in points per game (11.4), 3-point percentage (42.2), rebounds per game (3.9) and assists per game (1.9).

Washington just drafted Otto Porter, a seemingly NBA-ready small forward, but that doesn’t mean Webster will be cast aside.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:

Webster is Washington’s “No. 1” priority, the source said, in free agency.

Ben Standig of CSN Washington:

With the league-wide financial frenzy set to commence, those interested welcome any clues indicating what will transpire. Webster returning to Washington at this exact moment is not one, so says the player himself. At the same time, Webster acknowledges there is a potential silver lining within the trip itself.

“Nah, I’m just coming to here to meet with the trainers,” Webster told CSNwashington after arriving at Reagan International Airport.

J. Michael of CSN Washington:

Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld and forward Martell Webster “are talking” as of Monday afternoon, the opening of free agency, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CSN Washington.

Webster would set a nice bar for Porter. If Porter is immediately better, Webster isn’t too good to come off the bench. If Porter needs time, Webster can hold his own as a starter.

Attempting to build even more depth, the Wizards are also looking at Antawn Jamison. Spears:

The Wizards also texted their former forward Antawn Jamison, expressing interest Sunday night and would “love” to have him back, a source said. Jamison also is interested in returning to D.C., where he played for from 2004-10.

Jamison hasn’t hidden his unhappiness with how his season with the Lakers went, I think that’s more a product of him being 37 years old and less able to produce than Mike D’Antoni’s system not fitting him. Jamison won’t get any younger in Washington, but it’s a place he once had success.

If he’s hoping to recreate that magic, I think he’s just setting up himself for disappointment. But if Jamison is content with a lesser role in a place he’s comfortable, this could work. The Wizards, who have more-traditional bigs Emeka Okafor and Nene, could use Jamison as the stretch four who adds another element.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.