Tag: Maurice Evans

NBA Labor Negotiations Continue As Deadline Looms

Mo Evans rejected Wizards front office job, he wants to play

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Last year, veteran Maurice Evans was a key part of the Wizards effort to reshape their locker room. While less professional influences were moved out and away from John Wall, Evans was there to provide guidance in the vacuum.

The Wizards liked what he did, so they offered him a front office job, reports the USA Today.

A person familiar with the Wizards who requested anonymity because Evans is unsigned, said the team wanted to bring Evans back — as a front-office executive, a role Evans wants to embrace in the future. Just not now.

“I see myself in that kind of role,” he said. “I just don’t see it quite yet. I still have value as a player and look forward to playing this season.”

Evans also is a VP of the players union and has standing that way with players. There certainly are a lot of teams that could use veteran leadership in the locker room next season — Sacramento, Toronto, Charlotte come quickly to mind and there are others. But for the GMs of those teams they need to look and see if they can find a young player who might develop first, because in the end it is talent that wins in this league.

Evans finds himself among a group of veterans who have something to contribute but have to convince a team of that still, that need to land a contract. In his case, that offer likely comes in the next couple weeks as some GM realizes what he needs is not another prospect but someone to guide the ones he has.

Winderman: Despite Dwightmare, we’ve reached NBA slow season

Dwight Howard

In a non-Dwight year, this is when it tends to stop, in August.

As an NBA executive recently explained, there tend to be four stages to the offseason when it comes to personnel moves:

— The start of the free-agency period and the resulting immediate frenzy.

— The period shortly thereafter when offer sheets are matched or rejected, potentially freeing up what essentially had been frozen money.

— A follow-up period from lower- and minimal-salaried players, primarily those with families, who want to establish in advance their landing spots for the coming season.

— And then the long wait, until just before, or even amid, the start of camps, when, amid depleted cap space, a minimal-salary reality becomes the only reality for those still left on the board.

While the timing of the Olympics and the uncertainly of the Dwight Howard situation make 2012 a bit more complex, the silence currently being experienced is typical.

Oh, there still are those who see more than a minimum-salary reality, such as Mickael Pietrus distancing himself from the Celtics, as well as a few lingering free agents who may yet still cash in, such as fairly recent amnesty additions Andray Blatche and Josh Childress or somewhat-proven veterans such as Carlos Delfino and Kenyon Martin. But most it has become a case of players and teams assessing the prospects of playing time, the only true remaining currency.

That, essentially, is where the best-of-the-rest stand today, free agents such as Matt Barnes, Derek Fisher, Chris Andersen, Darko Milicic, Leandro Barbosa, Josh Howard, Anthony Tolliver, Jodie Meeks, Maurice Evans, Anthony Parker, Ryan Gomes and Tracy McGrady.

As for the pool of restricted free agents, that list has been reduced to Atlanta’s Ivan Johnson and Cleveland’s Alonzo Gee, effectively ending offer-sheet season.

At this point, it is likely the NBA’s transaction wire will be busier in September, when camps start to open, than in August, when the assessments could be limited to foreign teams scouting prospects in the Olympics.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.

Coach, McGee self ally-oop disagreement sums up Wizards

Flip Saunders

As you can see above, in the third quarter of the Wizards latest loss Monday, JaVale McGee decided to showboat a little with the self ally-oop.

It pretty much summed up the Wizards — impressive but unnecessarily showy and self-serving, all while the team was losing. Actually, what would have made it the perfect Wizards play is if he missed the dunk, but at least we were spared that.

The dunk promptly got McGee benched by coach Flip Saunders for most of the rest of the game. Saunders is coaching the most unprofessional locker room in the NBA and he picked this bit of showboating to put his foot down. Here is what Saunders said postgame, via Mike Prada and Bullets Forever.

“I told him that’s unacceptable,” Saunders said. “Maybe I’m too old-school, but you see that and the [lobbying] for the All-Star Game, that right there is where we have to get to where we identify with meat and potato basketball. Playing hard, setting screens, playing the right way, and not highlight-type play. We’ve said this many times. We have some players that look for highlights instead of substance.”

McGee didn’t really get why the anger.

“Apparently, if you get a fast break and you throw it off the backboard in the third quarter and you’re 1-11, you’re not supposed to do stuff like that,” McGee said, seemingly sarcastically. “I felt like I was trying to get the team hyped and trying to make a good play, so I felt like we did that, and we went on a run from there.”

Actually JaVale, it’s 1-12. McGee’s confusion may stem back to this kind of thing not being consistently enforced through the Wizards season. Part of that falls on Saunders. But it falls on the Wizards’ players also. Royce Young said it well at Eye on Basketball.

 I like McGee. I don’t think he’s a total knucklehead. I think he plays hard, tries to get better and wants to win. But he, along with some of his teammates, continue to do dumb things. It’s a culture thing. You can’t continue to think about yourself or highlights. You have to think about the team and what’s most important… At some point, you’ve just got to grow up. You can’t continue to waste talent and opportunity. Be a professional. An NBA game isn’t your own personal playground. It’s about the final score. It’s about winning and losing, the latter of which you know plenty about.

That the locker room was divided on the play and Saunders reaction tells you all you need to know about the Wizards locker room. John Wall sided with Saunders. Veteran Maurice Evans did as well. But Nick Young diplomatically tried to take McGee’s side.

There is a culture change that needs to happen in the Wizards locker room and this is one step on a long journey. A journey that is going to require some roster moves because this team doesn’t want to “play the right way” most nights. Saunders needs to more of this — and the locker room needs to start policing itself.

Right now, the D.C. locker room is about as focused on what is best long-term as Congress in that same town. It has to change. With the Wizards it might.