Getty Images

John Wall calls Washington’s off-season moves “pretty interesting”

Leave a comment

After another season where the Wizards underwhelmed — due to injuries, due to chemistry issues, due to a lot of things — what were the bold moves of this summer in our nation’s capital? Well, they signed Jeff Green. And in a trade they got Austin Rivers.

The other part of that Rivers’ trade was the big news — they sent center Marcin Gortat to the Clippers. That cleared the way to sign Dwight Howard this summer. The idea of adding Howard to a locker room with questionable chemistry is a bit of a punch line.

In a podcast with Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington, Wall called the Wizards’ summer “pretty interesting” and praised Howard.

“Even though [Howard] is older, he’s still an athletic big averaging 16 [points] and 12 [rebounds],” Wall said in the pod. He talked up Howard as a pick-and-roll threat lob threat as he rolls to the rim, saying defenses can’t cheat off of him.

“Not only do you get more layups, probably, you get more wide open threes.”

That’s great, but Howard got the ball back as the roll man on 12.5 percent of his possessions last season — it has never been something he wants to do a lot. Post-ups, however, accounted for 40.1 percent of his possessions, once you include his passes out of the post (and the Wizards scored a rather meh 0.85 points per possession on those post ups). Howard has long been better as the roll man, he just dislikes to do it.

Last season, Marcin Gortat got 20.9 percent of his shots out of the pick-and-roll and just 18.2 percent on post-ups. The Wizards don’t want to take the ball out of Wall’s hands. Nor should they.

Howard, even at this point in his career (when he is not the force of nature he was back in Orlando), can be an upgrade for the Wizards at center, but not a massive one. Nothing else GM Ernie Grunfeld did this summer moved the needle in Washington.

It’s all “pretty interesting” I guess. The Wizards look like another middle-of-the-pack team just not living up to all the potential on the roster, and it’s hard to see what changes about that this season.

 

Reversing reported course, Clippers fully guarantee Milos Teodosic’s salary

Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Clippers reportedly wanted to move on from point guard Milos Teodosic.

Teodosic opted in anyway, guaranteeing $2.1 million of his $6.3 million salary. Why not get as much money as possible on the way out?

But apparently Teodosic isn’t leaving L.A., as his contract became fully guaranteed yesterday.

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

The Clippers are expected to keep guard Milos Teodosic despite their crowded backcourt, according to an NBA official not authorized to speak publicly.

The Clippers traded guard Austin Rivers for center Marcin Gortat since the initial report, but that hardly ended the backcourt logjam. Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Lou Williams, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jerome Robinson, C.J. Williams and Jawun Evans remain at guard.

The bigger logjam is with the overall roster, though. The Clippers now have 17 players on standard contracts, two more than the regular-season limit. That doesn’t bode well for Williams, whose salary is unguaranteed. Without another trade, Evans or Sindarius Thornwell could get cut.

Why the change of heart on Teodosic? Perhaps, he’s progressing better than expected medically. The 31-year-old missed 37 games last season with a foot injury, and there was concern about his long-term health. But when on the court, he’s a dazzling passer and long-distance shooter. Being slowed won’t help his already-woeful defense, though.

The Clippers were already over the cap, and they’re in little danger of entering the luxury tax. So, the only costs of guaranteeing Teodosic are owner Steve Ballmer’s real money, a roster spot and him potentially blocking playing time of L.A.’s lottery-pick guards. But the Clippers could even cut Teodosic in the preseason if someone else emerges as more deserving of the roster spot, and Doc Rivers can choose whether to play Teodosic or Gilgeous-Alexander and Robinson.

So, the biggest development is the roster spot. Teodosic is now extremely likely to hold it into the season, which means monitoring who gets dripped.

Report: Dwight Howard finalized buyout with Brooklyn, to sign with Washington

Getty Images
3 Comments

Get out the popcorn and get comfortable, because it’s really happening: The Washington Wizards, the most dysfunctional locker room in the NBA is about to add Dwight Howard to the mix.

Dwight Howard has been traded from Charlotte to Brooklyn, and the Nets have finalized the buyout that will make Howard a free agent, clearing the way for him to be a Wizards. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the story.

This was all reported before but couldn’t become official until the NBA’s signing moratorium was over.

Howard replaces Marcin Gortat, who was traded because he doesn’t get along with John Wall in a salary dump for Austin Rivers. Howard had a solid season last year in Charlotte, averaging 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Coach Steve Clifford put Howard back in his comfort zones, didn’t ask him to do too much, and while things were inconsistent they were not bad for Howard in Charlotte.

Of course, Howard’s teammates weren’t fond of him in Charlotte. Now he goes to a locker room that may be the most dysfunctional in the NBA (and we can throw in Jeff Green for fun as well). Howard wants to change his reputation, but the rest of us are sitting around with popcorn waiting for the drama to begin.

Report: Wizards, Dwight Howard nearing contract

Getty Images
9 Comments

The Wizards may have the most dysfunctional locker room in the NBA.

Dwight Howard has left unhappy teammates in his wake for years.

What could go wrong if those two things are combined?

It is on its way to happening, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic and Chris Mannix of NBC Sports Boston and Yahoo Sports.

A few things have to happen for all of this to come together. First, the Hornets have to complete the trade of Howard to the Nets, which can’t happen until the NBA’s free agency moratorium ends July 6. Then the Nets and Howard have to agree to the terms of a buyout. Both of those things are agreed to, according to sources, but still, they have to take place before we can get on to what’s next.

The Wizards traded Marcin Gortat to the Lakers for Austin Rivers in a cap-space deal recently, but it created a need at center (unless you’re Ian Mahinmi‘s mom). Thomas Bryant is not going to solve that problem.

Howard does on a pure numbers level. While nobody was watching him (relatively) last season in Charlotte he was solid, averaging 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Coach Steve Clifford put Howard back in his comfort zones, didn’t ask him to do too much, and it kind of worked. He still stopped the ball too much on offense, he was inconsistent, his teammates didn’t like him, but he was a respectable rotation center.

But Howard in the Wizards’ locker room? Could be gasoline on a fire.

Report: Clippers trade Austin Rivers to Wizards for Marcin Gortat

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
11 Comments

DeAndre Jordan could leave the Clippers, either by opting out to enter unrestricted free agency or opting in to facilitate a trade.

If he does, L.A. will be prepared.

The Clippers are sending Austin Rivers to the Wizards for Marcin Gortat in an exchange of expiring contracts.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This trade could improve the mood in both locker rooms.

By dealing Rivers – son of coach and former team president Doc Rivers – the Clippers are eliminating a political problem. Teammates resented Austin’s favored status, and it might have even contributed to Chris Paul‘s exit. Though the situation was more complex than that, perception matters greatly. The only way to move past the issue was firing Doc or dropping Austin. Once the Clippers extended Doc’s contract and Austin opted into his $12.65 million salary, trading the guard become favored.

Gortat always seemed to have tension with John Wall. Though they managed it well enough, that gets exhausting.

Beyond the interpersonal dynamics, Rivers was expendable in L.A., and this trade saves Washington money.

The Clippers have Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams as lead guards and just drafted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson in the lottery. Beverley and Williams are better than Rivers. Gilgeous-Alexander and Robinson have higher upsides.

Based on their current roster, this puts the Wizards in line to save $3,203,263 – $915,218 in salary and $2,288,045 in luxury tax. They could trim payroll even further.

In Washington, Rivers will slide behind John Wall and/or Bradley Beal at guard. The Wizards especially need another backup shooting guard after Jodie Meeksperformance-enhancing drug suspension, but they also don’t seem to believe enough in promising Tomas Satoransky as backup point guard.

Washington might seek another center in free agency. It’ll be a buyers’ market at that position. A hodgepodge of Ian Mahinmi, Markieff Morris and Jason Smith is far from inspiring.

Gortat could start at center in L.A. if Jordan leaves. If Jordan returns, Gortat would be a good backup. The Clippers also have Boban Marjanovic at center, though none of his three teams (Spurs and Pistons previously) have figured out quite what to do with him.