HoopsHype Washington Wizards rumors

Washington Wizards highlights

March 11, 2014 Updates

Within a team meeting pushing hours, John Wall sat and listened to veterans lash out and grumble about misplaced shooting tendencies of younger players. Nene had pressed the issues of selfish play days earlier and Trevor Ariza and Al Harrington hatched a team sitdown nine games into the season, a cleansing of beliefs about distributing offensive touches and roles, about minutes and schemes. Everyone spoke, everyone provided opinions on why another season had started like so many others for the Washington Wizards: unorganized and mismanaged. Final say? The exchanges stopped upon John Wall’s words. RealGM

Essentially, teammates gave Wall the room, centered him in a classroom setting and asked: What should our roles be? You’re the heralded franchise star, the organization’s maximum salary designation. How about you tell us? “From that day forward, I knew I was the guy, the leader, and I knew that they trusted me,” Wall told RealGM. “I let everybody know what I thought about our state. I think we were passing the ball, but when you’re not playing good for a stretch, frustration sets in. So guys find a way to blame it on somebody else or something else. Nene told me to stand up in front of the whole team and told me, ‘You’re our leader, you’re our franchise guy, so tell us what you think everybody’s roles are.’ “My first few years, I didn’t have really great veteran leaders. It was tough on me trying to learn and trying to stay healthy at the same time to improve my game for the NBA. Trevor won a championship – [Marcin] Gortat, Nene, guys who have been to the playoffs – I’m trying to learn from them and be in their shoes. “These past two years, I’ve had great veterans – guys who see how hard I work and trust my talent. They want to see me progress.” RealGM

Wall secured his long-term deal in late July, and he recognizes the looming free agencies of Ariza and Gortat. Now, Wall, 25, has assumed the responsibility to let pending both pending free agents know about his desire for them to stay with the Wizards. Ariza is an indispensible defender and shooter this season, a former NBA champion whom teammates trust. Despite talk the Wizards explored negotiating an extension during the season, Gortat had made clear before the season that he would solely focus on playing out his contract prior to becoming a free agent, sources told RealGM. RealGM

“Trevor and Gortat already know how I feel about them,” Wall told RealGM. “I talked to Trevor about when he could have opted out this past season and I wanted him to come back. I know it’s a tough situation for him because you never know when your career is over. You want to get closer to winning championships, but I feel like if we stick together, anything can happen. RealGM

“I signed five years for a reason: Yeah, I want to keep this core going. I want to keep winning and bring some excitement back to D.C.” RealGM

Any rule changes that you think would help the NBA game? For instance, sometimes they talk about instituting FIBA goaltending rules in the NBA. Any thoughts on that or any other changes that would help the game play? Marcin Gortat: The goaltending? It definitely wouldn’t help. You have too many athletic guys in this league that would tip the ball out of the rim, so pretty much to make a basket you will need to swish it, you know what I’m saying? I would say I would loosen up a little bit the rules about the fighting fines. That’s what I would loosen up. Because today you go to an ice hockey game, and the one thing they’re waiting for is a fight, you know what I’m saying? So if they could set it up something like that in the NBA. That if there are two guys and they have a problem, if they could just separate everybody. And these two people that have problem, if they could fight ... ESPN.com

Your mother was a volleyball player for the Polish national team, your father was big-time boxer -- you have the tattoo of him on your chest. If you weren’t playing basketball, what would you be doing? One of those two things? Something completely different? Marcin Gortat: You know what, I’m asking the same question. I’m asking myself this question every once in a while and quite honestly I can’t answer this question. I don’t know what I’d do. I would probably ... I definitely won’t play volleyball, maybe I’d be a boxer. I’d definitely be a bodybuilder. I’d lift and I’d probably be a security or some bouncer in the a club, maybe, I don’t know. I’d probably finish school and work toward a direction from there. ESPN.com

March 10, 2014 Updates

Q: This summer you will be an unrestricted free agent. This being your seventh year in the league, you’ve never really been a free agent, as you signed an offer sheet with Dallas in 2009 but Orlando matched, which is something you did not like. So what’s in your mind right now about being able to go through the free agent process and really be able to be courted for the first time? Marcin Gortat: All I know is that I’m going to be a free agent. I don’t know how it is to be a player that actually is going to be able to pick the team he wants to play for, you know what I’m saying? I’m hoping that at the end of the day I’m going to be able to pick the team where I will play. I hope there will be a team, let’s put it this way first. ESPN.com

Marcin Gortat: There’s a lot of different things I’m going to look at. The team situation. The goal of the team. I’m going to look at the point guard. I’m going to look at the coaching staff. I’m going to look at a lot of different things before I’m going to pick the team, and obviously Washington is going to be really close to me right now. I feel really comfortable here. They have two rising stars in Bradley Beal and John Wall, and this team’s definitely going to get better and better. They have Otto Porter, who’s going to be a good player one day. And there’s going to be a lot of different things I’m going to look at. But quite honestly, right now I just want to make sure that we’re not going to lose five in a row and that we won’t lose a spot in the playoffs, because that would be the worst thing. I’m more pumped up for being in the playoffs again and not watching them in front of the TV. Back in the day I was spoiled by (Stan) Van Gundy playing all the way to the conference finals. With Phoenix, I was in the playoffs, so finally now [I have] an opportunity again. ESPN.com

Q: Any rule changes that you think would help the NBA game? For instance, sometimes they talk about instituting FIBA goaltending rules in the NBA. Any thoughts on that or any other changes that would help the game play? Marcin Gortat: The goaltending? It definitely wouldn’t help. You have too many athletic guys in this league that would tip the ball out of the rim, so pretty much to make a basket you will need to swish it, you know what I’m saying? I would say I would loosen up a little bit the rules about the fighting fines. That’s what I would loosen up. Because today you go to an ice hockey game, and the one thing they’re waiting for is a fight, you know what I’m saying? So if they could set it up something like that in the NBA. That if there are two guys and they have a problem, if they could just separate everybody. And these two people that have problem, if they could fight ... ESPN.com

Q: During the game? Marcin Gortat: During the game. Quick, 15-20 seconds, throw few punches, then referees jump in and break this thing up. I think the game ... these two guys, they resolved their problem. They’re both suspended and they’re leaving. But end of the day, they fix the problem between each other, fans are super excited, and I think that would be a pretty cool idea [chuckles]. ESPN.com

Q: You’d need bigger refs. You couldn’t have Dick Bavetta out there. Marcin Gortat: At some point when the referees jump in, then you’d have to stop. You’d have to stop. So I think that would be a great idea, just like the ice hockey fans waiting for that, that’s would NBA fans would get into as well. And, I think we’re definitely going to mention this in the players’ meeting, but we definitely have to mention the situation about the fans. When we say something to the fan, and when we curse him out, or when we definitely throw a punch, or we’re trying to hit the fan, we are suspended for half of the season. But when they yell at us or insult us or are cursing at us using bad words, they don’t get anything. So what I would say is that there’s definitely supposed to be a rule where if one of the fans is disrespecting us, then he got to leave the gym automatically. ESPN.com

Q: With the situation in Ukraine with Russia, I know that Poland has expressed some concerns to NATO about Russia’s actions (including military drills near the border with Poland). Is that something you’re keeping track of? Marcin Gortat: Quite honestly, even though I’m saying this left and right, I keep repeating this to everybody that one day I would like to be president (of Poland), I’m actually kind of off that subject now, off that topic right now because I really haven’t had time to follow what’s going on. ESPN.com

March 9, 2014 Updates
March 8, 2014 Updates

Gooden received a nameplate this week, which provided some added incentive. It also made Gooden more likely to commit to the Wizards if other teams come pursuing when his next deal expires on March 18. “You hear a lot about it’s no loyalty, but the Wizards…gave me this opportunity, why wouldn’t I stay here?” Gooden said. “It’s some point of loyalty for me to redeem myself, rejuvenate myself as a player. I don’t forget things like that and if it ever came down the line where it’s another team out there that wants me, I believe the Wizards would be my first choice.” Washington Post

But instead of seeking revenge during his return to Milwaukee nearly seven months after they severed ties, Gooden said he plans to focus on the fans, who often serenaded him with chants of “We want Drew” while he watched others play. “The people that had my back the most out there were my teammates and the fans. That’s who had my back and who had me going throughout that whole season,” Gooden said. That was a joy to see, that they really enjoyed me being there and they respected my work I put in there. That was the one thing that motivated me to come to work and still go hard in the morning.” Washington Post

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS
IN WIZARDS HISTORY
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Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison are the only two new-era players cracking the Top 10.

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