Panthers' new GM Gettleman ready to take charge


Panthers' new GM Gettleman ready to take charge

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is confident new general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Ron Rivera are the right men to ``fix things'' in Carolina.

The Panthers haven't been to the postseason since 2008 and haven't won a playoff game since 2005. Richardson said he's counting on both to change that trend soon.

``I think his experience will not only benefit the organization, but will be terrific for Ron at this time of his career,'' Richardson said.

Richardson introduced Gettleman at a news conference Tuesday, saying he likes that his new GM comes from a winning organization like the New York Giants. Gettleman has been to six Super Bowls with Buffalo, Denver and the Giants and has won three championships.

Gettleman, wearing a suit, glasses and Super Bowl ring on his right hand told Richardson through his thick Boston accent, ``if we do this right, you and I will be holding up a trophy.''

The 61-year-old Gettleman said he wondered if this opportunity would ever come after spending 25 years in the league but continuously being passed over for interviews.

``The say good things come to those who wait and I feel like this is absolutely the perfect fit for me,'' Gettleman said. ``... It was time for me to move to significance and a lot of that is thinking about legacy. What is your legacy?''

Gettleman admitted to being frustrated that he was never granted any interview opportunities for general manager positions around the league despite his past success. He took a calculated gamble last year, asking Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch if he could take a step back from his role with the team to focus on his future.

Gettleman wanted to step away from the day-to-day grind of evaluating personnel to get a broader scope of the league, which he felt might help him land a GM position.

He said he wanted to move ``from success to significance.''

It paid off.

Now he said he feels like he's hit the lottery in Carolina.

Current Giants GM Jerry Reese said Gettleman's legacy in New York as a personnel evaluator is outstanding and called him a terrific hire for the Panthers.

``Wherever he goes, Super Bowls follow him,'' Reese said.

Richardson is hoping that success follows him to Carolina, a team that has the second-fewest wins in the league since 2010 with 15.

Richardson didn't address reporters after introducing Gettleman.

Rivera attended the press conference but the normally talkative coach only spoke only for about a minute to reporters afterward before being shuffled out of the room.

Rivera said Richardson was very forthright with him their meeting on Jan. 5, saying ``we had a great meeting and things turned out the way I was hoping.''

Rivera said didn't feel like he was on pins and needles waiting for a decision from Richardson. He felt confident the team's strong finish - the Panthers won four of their last five games - would help him keep his job.

``We had an opportunity to go through a lot of the stuff as to who we are and the opportunity we're going to have,'' Rivera said.

Gettleman did not have any input on the decision to retain Rivera. In fact, the two men never met until last week.

But Gettleman offered confidence in Rivera and the current Panthers scouting department heading into next season.

``I don't have a list of coaches in my back pocket,'' Gettleman said. ``I have no interest in that.''

Gettleman inherits a team that is $16 million over the NFL salary cap and certainly his first moves will be that of subtraction rather than addition.

He said he hasn't had a chance to fully evaluate the Panthers roster and wasn't ready to take questions about specific players.

However, he said he's excited that the Panthers have a franchise quarterback in place in Cam Newton.

As for his philosophy in terms of free agents, it's not unlike that of former general manager Marty Hurney. Gettleman said he plans to build through the draft saying ``you have to raise your own.''

He called venturing into free agency and throwing big money at marquee players ``dangerous.''

Gettleman said he believes the key to success in the NFL is making decisions ``unemotionally and objectively.''

``You have to put the proper value on the player and you get in trouble when you overpay,'' Gettleman said. ``The litmus test on the cap is when the ink is dry and you're not happy then you've made a mistake.''

Former Bills, Panthers and Colts GM Bill Polian called Gettleman a ``grinder,'' a term of respect for those in the business.

``He's a terrific evaluator and he's a hard worker,'' Polian said.

Reese said Gettleman has the skill set to be a great general manager and help lead the Panthers back to prominence.

But he added that only time will tell how successful he'll be in Carolina.

``This is a show-me business,'' Reese said. ``If he wins, he's a good GM. If he doesn't win people will say he's not a good GM. But that is what you sign up for and Dave knows that. There is no in between in this business.''


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Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

Bradley Beal's phantom foul and the Wizards' most important rally of the season

After calling an inconsistent game throughout the night, the referees made a decision with five minutes to go in Game 4 that nearly altered the entire series between the Wizards and Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan was chasing a rebound on the baseline and ran into Bradley Beal. Beal, who had a team-high 31 points, was levied a sixth and final foul with the score tied. 

Beal had unloaded for 20 points in 12 minutes in the second half, but now the Wizards would have to close it out without their All-Star shooting guard. Somehow, they were able to seal the win and tie the series.

Beal heard the whistle as he laid on the ground. He immediately hopped up and unleashed a tantrum that nobody could blame him for.

He jumped up and down, screaming at the referees, who had just called by all accounts a questionable foul and in a key moment of a playoff game.

Both Beal and head coach Scott Brooks were incensed and with good reason.

“I was beyond emotional, beyond mad, frustrated," Beal said. "I honestly thought they were going to kick me out of the game I was so mad, but I was happy they didn’t do that."

Beal is probably lucky the referees didn't take offense to his reaction because it continued when he was on the bench. He walked past his teammates and leaned over with his hands on his knees, still furious. Then he returned to the sideline to yell at the refs. Center Ian Mahinmi helped convince him to step back and cool off.

Beal has made a major difference in this series. He averaged 14.0 points in the first two games, both losses. He has averaged 29.5 points in Games 3 and 4, two Wizards wins.

Getting him out of the game was a major break for the Raptors, but they couldn't take advantage. The Wizards closed the final five minutes on a 14-6 tear. John Wall stepped up to lead the charge with eight of those points.

The Wizards still had one star on the court and he played like one.

“Just go in attack mode," Wall said. "When Brad went out, I knew I had to do whatever it took... I just wanted to do whatever, so that we could advance to Game 5, tied 2-2.”

Once Beal composed himself, his confidence grew in his teammates. He and Wall feel comfortable playing without each other because they have done so often throughout their careers.

This year, Wall missed 41 games due to a left knee injury. Two years ago, Beal missed 27 games. Early on in his career, he had trouble staying healthy. Now he is an iron man who played in all 82 games during the 2017-18 regular season.

Beal has grown accustomed to being on the floor a lot, but he realized he can still affect the game from the sidelines.

"I just gathered my emotions, gathered my thoughts and told my team we were going to win, regardless. I knew if we still had John [Wall] in the game I loved our chances," Beal said. "Face the adversity that I had to overcome, just gather myself and be a leader, being vocal and keeping everyone encouraged in the game.”

Wall and others did the heavy lifting in the end. The Wizards used Kelly Oubre, Jr. as the shooting guard with Beal out and he made key plays down the stretch, including a steal on Kyle Lowry in the closing seconds.

The Wizards were thrown a significant curveball and they overcame it to put themselves in good position now having won two straight.

“You have to have resolve to win in this league," Brooks said. "You win playoff games and you win playoff series with having that. We have that, and we have to continue to have that because we have to win two more games and one of them has to be on the road."

When it comes to the officiating, the Wizards deserve credit for their resilience and restraint early in Game 4. The Raptors had 16 free throws in the first quarter compared to the Wizards' four. Washington perservered and ended up with more free throws (31) than the Raptors (30) did for the game.

In Game 1, the Wizards appeared to be affected by a lack of foul calls. That came was called loosely by the referees, while this one was officiated tightly. Though Beal went off, the Wizards for the most part stayed the course and were rewarded for it.

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The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

The Wizards supplied all the highlights and fireworks; 5 must-see moments from Game 4

WASHINGTON -- As the home team in a dire situation you have to take advantage, and that is exactly what the Washington Wizards did in their 106-98 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Highlight reel play after highlight reel play, the Wizards ignited the crowd with some of their best plays from the entire season to make it 2-2 in the series. Here are just a few of them:

1. John Wall collects posters in the first half

The first one was perhaps the best. Everything was going wrong for the Wizards, poor turnovers, bad shots, a three from Toronto. Then John Wall had enough. Not only did he fly past his defender Kyle Lowry, but he went up and slammed one home past the 7-foot Jonas Valanciunas. Up until that point, the Wizards were shooting 1-for-7.

Rinse and repeat, except this time Jakob Poeltl was Wall’s victim.

2. Wall to Beal alley-oop in transition

With the Wizards’ offense faltering, the Raptors remained on the verge of blowing the game open throughout the second quarter. But with a steal from Otto Porter Jr., Wall hung up the ball for Bradley Beal to slam home. The alley-oop kept the Wizards within single digits in the second with an uninspiring offensive effort.

3. Otto Porter breaks out of the half

A subdued offensive start to the game was due in part to the production from Porter. In the first half he went 0-for-4 with one point in nearly 17 minutes of action.

Throw that away in the second half. He broke out of halftime with back-to-back threes and 10 of the Wizards’ 26 in a monster 26-14 run to take the lead back in the third.

He finished the quarter with 10 points, an assist, and two blocks.

4. The Polish Hammer throwing it home

Are you convinced yet that Marcin Gortat’s new haircut is doing him some good? Gortat squeezed through two Raptors’ defenders, threw it down, gave a Goliath-type roar to the crowd before officially bringing the hammer down. 

5. Beal being called for his sixth foul of the game

Agree with the call or not, there is no denying that Beal’s removal from the game lit a fire underneath the Wizards. From that point Washington went on a 14-6 scoring run to end the game, closing out for the win.