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Wizards weigh options: Potential trade targets and soon-to-expire DPE


Wizards weigh options: Potential trade targets and soon-to-expire DPE

The weeklong vacation is over and now the Wizards are in a holding pattern as they await Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline. Even in the event that they do nothing -- believing that a fully healthy roster for the first time all season is enough to get over the hump and back into the playoff picture -- they still have options on the table.


Ryan Anderson (Pelicans) and Miles Plumlee (Bucks) have long been floated as possibilities for the Wizards, but the there are two keys to focus on with any deal that's made: The Wizards would prefer to avoid picking up too much additional salary that locks them in beyond this season -- a posture they held true to during this time a year ago -- and giving up draft picks without any guarantees in return.

P.J. Tucker (Suns) is a physical defender with three-point range that seems like a good fit, but he has a partial guarantee of $3.8 million for 2016-17 which pushes him down the board. His teammate Mirza Teletovic, a 6-9, three-point shooting stretch forward, is similar to Anderson in his ability to spread the floor and his $5.5 million deal will expire but he doesn't appear to have generated much interest on this end either.

Anderson is a free agent after this season which meets part of the requirement, but the Wizards will hold a firm line on giving up a first-round pick for him. Why? With Anderson unrestricted, unless they have an understanding that they can re-sign him this summer, he walks and turns out to be a 31-game rental that costs a first-round pick. The Wizards would be open to going after him in the summer though bidding and the growing salary cap inevitably will drive up his pricetag from where it stands at $8.5 million.

Plumlee is affordable ($1.4 million) and expiring and isn't out of the question.

Disabled Player Exception

The Wizards still have a $2.8 million DPE for Martell Webster, who was waived before the season, that can be used until March 10. It can be used in two ways: NBA players can be bought out of their contracts up until March 1, something the Wizards were hoping for a year ago with guards Jameer Nelson and Gary Neal (signed last summer as a free agent).

Washington could absorb a player in the final year of his deal by using the DPE in a trade before the deadline without sending anything more in return than a highly protected second-round pick -- aka a "fake" pick -- to meet CBA requirements to consummate a deal. The sending team would be more concerned here with shedding salary for a pick that would never come to fruition to make it a win-win. 

If the Wizards bypass the trade deadline and go the DPE/bought-out free-agent route they're still in good position to pick up the best free agent available. How? The $2.8 million (half of Webster's salary) isn't a pro-rated amount if used on a free agent. While other teams who sign bought-out players to deals that are pro-rated based on veteran minimum salaries, the Wizards could sign someone for the full amount for two months' work. They'd probably stop short of that, however, to stay out of the luxury tax (about $2.4 million at most). The Wizards are an over-the-salary-cap-but-under-the-luxury-tax team. 

The DPE doesn't allow for a 16th player. The Wizards still have to waive someone to make room by using the DPE. 

And, of course, they can do both: Orchestrate a trade by the deadline and waive a player/use the DPE by March 10 as long as they stay out of the tax.

Whatever the decision by Washington, if anything, it likely happens Thursday as other dominoes fall. The strategy served them well two years ago when they brought in Andre Miller (trade) and Drew Gooden (unsigned free agent) to revive a struggling bench and Ramon Sessions (trade) last season to make playoff runs. 

MORE WIZARDS: Alan Anderson practices with Wizards for first time

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Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Following their seventh loss in 11 games and another lackluster performance in key areas, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reverted back to a critique that characterized many defeats months ago. He called into question the effort of his team, more specifically their urgency. How they could overlook the stakes at this point of the season and with so much on the line had escaped him.

Brooks wasn't pleased following Washington's 108-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. He didn't like their three-point defense, their inability to force turnovers and their lack of zip on offense. But overall, it was the apparent lack of realization that time is running out in the regular season and off-nights cannot be afforded.

"We have to play with more spirit [and] we have to take some pride in our home court," Brooks said. "We’re building our habits going into the playoffs and these are moments where we need to take advantage because it’s playoff implications in every game."


Pride is something Brooks has referenced after the Wizards' worst defeats since he took over. This one didn't qualify, as they only lost by eight points and had opportunities late to write a different ending. But they were playing a team fighting for their own playoff position in the opposite conference and for the most part did not match their intensity.

The Nuggets, to put it plainly, are among the worst defensive teams in basketball. They were missing their leading scorer, Gary Harris. And they tightened their rotation to just eight players.

Yet the Wizards only managed 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers. Aside from their 33-point third quarter, the Wizards' offense was effectively stalled. 

"We can’t have guys that are not going to participate with hard cuts and hard setups and good screens. We need everybody. It’s not one person, it’s all," Brooks said.


The Wizards only forced 10 turnovers on the Nuggets and only three in the first half. That held back their offense in the sense they had few opportunities for fastbreak buckets.

"That’s where we get most of our offense from anyways, getting stops, getting out in transition," forward Otto Porter said.

The Wizards have lost two straight games. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers and Pacers both won on Friday night.

The Wizards are sixth place in the East and just 1 1/2 games out of fourth, but there is a huge difference in those spots. Sixth could mean meeting the Cavs in the first round and they have won three straight since Kevin Love returned from injury.


The Cavaliers could quickly become the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. Their record is deceiving due to Love's injury and they still boast LeBron James, the best player on the planet. No one can control a playoff series quite like he can.

An argument could be made the Wizards would be better off moving down than up, as the seventh spot would match them up with the injury-riddled Boston Celtics. The Wizards are just 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-seed Miami Heat.

The Wizards, though, would prefer to move up and they still have a chance to get into fourth, which would mean home court advantage.

John Wall will return at some point, likely soon. In the short-term, Brooks would like to some urgency and for his team to get back to the trademark ball movement that allowed them to go 10-3 in their first 13 games when Wall went down.

"We can get it back, but it’s not going to come back. We have to go get it. It’s time to do it; it’s time," Brooks said.

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Phil Chenier becomes fifth Bullets player to ever have his jersey retired


Phil Chenier becomes fifth Bullets player to ever have his jersey retired

On the newest banner that hangs from the rafters at Capital One Arena, a small microphone - embroidered with a white 33 - is subtly stitched into the bottom left corner. 

You'd barely notice it was there; Phil Chenier certainly didn't.

Chenier, who had his #45 jersey retired tonight during halftime of tonight's Wizards-Nuggets game, didn't even notice the mic, added to signify his three decades as a broadcaster with the team.

"I had no idea there was even a mic on it," Chenier said, laughing. "I'll have to go back out and look at it some more."

Despite the Wizards' 108-100 loss, the night was first and foremost a celebration of Chenier - the 5th player in franchise history to have his number rasied in the rafters. He joins Earl Monroe, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson, and Wes Unseld as the only players to achieve the honor so far.

"To be up there with the other 4 names means a lot – people I had the fortune of playing with," he added. "I remember my first day of practice and I had just watched this team play in the finals and now I’m plopped down with Wes Unfeld and Earl Monroe and Gus Johnson. It seemed like they accepted me from the get go."

Many from that 1978 Championship team were in attendance on Friday night, watching as one of their teammates cemented his professional legacy. For Chenier, that acceptance as an All-Time Bullets great is at the core of why he played the game.

"You know, when you play this game, you play for acceptance," he said. "You want to be the best, you want to be accepted. Having players and childhood friends – and of course, your family – here, you’re surrounded by so many people that meant a lot to you both before and now. It’s a really humbling feeling.”

It was hard to find someone in DC without something good to say about Chenier on Friday night. Even in the basement of Capital One Center, after the Wizards' fifth loss in seven games, head coach Scott Brooks took a moment out of his press conference to praise Chenier. 

"[Chenier] is a great ambassador and we all love him," Brooks said. "It's well deserved. It's going to be pretty cool seeing his jersey every time we step into this building."

Fans left the arena with a commemorative Phil Chenier cut out. Phil Chenier left the arena with his number retired. The experience was, according to the man himself, everything he thought it'd be. 

"You don’t know what the emotions are going to be..." he told media members after the ceremony."...Obviously it’s something I thought about, but it really was exciting to see the 45 up there and my name."

Then Chenier cracked a smile.

"I’m glad it’s over with."