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How dealing for traded-player exceptions helps net Dudley

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How dealing for traded-player exceptions helps net Dudley

The seemingly innocuous traded player exception, used by the Wizards late Thursday to acquire Milwaukee Bucks forward Jared Dudley in a deal that won't become official until July 9, is a function of solid long-term and contingency planning. And on top of that, they still have their $5.5 million mid-level exception to likely use on a scoring guard.

The Wizards lost Paul Pierce in free agency Wednesday but were restricted with their ability to maneuver in free agency because they lacked salary-cap space and were sticking to a hard line of not locking up money long-term for the summer of 2016 when Kevin Durant hits the market.

Understanding what their cap situation was, the Wizards made several moves to put themselves in position to land Dudley, who was acquired for just an "extremely protected" future second-round pick, CSNwashington.com was told:

  • The Wizards were losing Trevor Ariza to free agency last summer. So they worked with him so both parties could get what they wanted. They orchestrated a sign-and-trade with Ariza to the Houston Rockets, where he wanted to go. In the deal, the Wizards received what's called a Traded Player Exception for $8.6 million which allows them to acquire a future asset without giving up anything. This is a function of the last collective bargaining agreement which makes it advantageous to the departing player, instead of just leaving a team high and dry with nothing to show for it, to work out a deal. The player gets the maximum per-year raise of 7.5% in his contract (it's 4.5% if he leaves as a free agent and relinquishes what's called his Bird rights) while the team is left with chips it can use to retool.
  • Soon after this transaction, the Wizards made a deal with the Boston Celtics who were looking to unload Kris Humphries. They used half of the exception from Ariza, $4.3 million, in that deal and sent a top-49 protected 2015 second-round pick. The Wizards were able to keep their pick and chose Aaron White out of Iowa 46th in the draft. 

MORE WIZARDS: THAT TIME JARED DUDLEY TOOK A SHOT AT KOBE BRYANT

  • In swapping Andre Miller for Ramon Sessions in February, the Wizards not only received a younger and more athletic player but there were two moves made with exceptions that were key to that deal and what happened with Dudley. 1). Exceptions can be split but not combined. The Wizards took the remaining half of Ariza's exception and used about $2.1 million of it and sent it to the Sacramento Kings to absorb Sessions' contract. They have a little more than $2 million left of that exception that expires in a few weeks. In return, the Kings sent the Wizards a $4.7 million exception to account for Miller's salary and to facilitate the salary match. Miller made more than twice Sessions' salary and the TPE compensates for that to get the deal approved. The Kings had acquired a $5.85 million exception in a deal they'd previously made with Jason Terry and used $4.7 million of it.

  • The Wizards took the larger, $4.7 million exception it received for Miller and applied it to get Dudley who had recently opted into his deal with Milwaukee for about $4.3 million.

The moral to the story here is trade exceptions matter. They're not irrelevant or throwaways in deals if used properly. Without the exceptions, a wrinkle in the complicated collective bargaining agreement, the Wizards wouldn't have been able to spruce up the roster at minimal cost despite having no cap room. 

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Texas A&M big man Robert Williams likes potential fit with Wizards, John Wall

Texas A&M big man Robert Williams likes potential fit with Wizards, John Wall

In terms of the needs on their roster and the guys most likely to be available when they are on the clock at No. 15 in the first round, few players in this draft class seem as obvious a fit with the Washington Wizards more than Robert Williams of Texas A&M. So, it was no surprise that he not only visited them in Washington on Monday, but received the only individual public workout they have held during this year's predraft process.

Williams could be the answer to their longstanding quest for an athletic big man. No need to bring in five other guys for the usual six-player workout when Williams deserves a longer and more extensive look than most prospects they are considering.

The 20-year-old was put through a variety of drills Monday afternoon, just days before the 2018 NBA Draft. He likes the fit with Washington, if that's how things end up sorting out.

"I definitely feel like they could use a big like me, a defensive-style athletic big like me. I definitely see myself fitting here," he said.

Williams is one of the best big men in this year's draft. He is 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds with a 7-5 wingspan. He used that length to dominate in the paint at the college level.

Williams averaged a modest 10.4 points for the Aggies in 2017-18, but also 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. That was his sophomore year. He averaged 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks as a freshman.

He was a shot-blocking force the day he stepped on campus and believes those skills will translate to the professional ranks. In the NBA, Williams believes he can thrive because his defensive versatility will be even more valuable in a day and age where switching is paramount.

"I feel like I can guard all positions. That’s one of my biggest attributes," he said. "It’s just about embracing it, having fun stopping a guard. Once you’re comfortable with it, you can do it."

Williams may adapt to the NBA quickly on the defensive end and that's where the Wizards need help the most. They haven't had a consistent rim-protector in years. Last season, point guard John Wall led the team in blocks per game.

Offense is where the questions lie with Williams. He wasn't a big scorer in college and does not have much of an outside shot. The fact he shot just 47.1 percent from the free throw line this past season suggests he has a lot of work to do before he can stretch the floor.

Williams will need to find a niche offensively, likely as a rim-runner off pick-and-rolls. He sees a lot of potential in a possible pick-and-roll pairing with Wall.

"He’s an elite passer and an elite guard. Coming off a pick-and-roll, you have to pay attention to him as well as have to pay attention to me as well. It’s a win-win situation," Williams said.

Williams believes his offensive game will open up with more space at the NBA level. The Wizards have Wall surrounded by three-point shooters in Bradley Beal, Otto Porter and Markieff Morris. Toss Williams into the middle and he could go to work in the paint doing the rest.

If Williams were drafted by the Wizards, he could look at Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets as a model to follow. Like Houston, the Wizards have two All-Star guards. An athletic big man who doesn't need plays run for him could be the perfect complement.

No one needs to tell Williams that, he is well-aware. He said that at nearly every stop during the predraft process Capela's name has come up.

"I knew that’s what you were going to say," Williams said to a reporter (raises hand) who asked about the Capela comparison.

Williams continued to say they are different players and it's not entirely fair to compare them. That exchange showed Williams has an edge to him, sort of like Morris. He's clearly not afraid to be honest when some players would not.

Despite downplaying the comparison, Williams can see what makes Capela successful.

"I’ve watched him. He’s a great player," Williams said. "He is around the right people. He just plays his role. He runs off a lot of screens. He gets up there and does what he has to do."

Williams is gearing up for Thursday's draft and trying to decide who he will walk the stage with, as the NBA has introduced a new tradition of each player walking with two people. He said it will likely be his mother and sister. Perhaps by the end of the night he will also walk that stage wearing a Washington Wizards hat.

For more on Williams, check out our extensive draft profile on him.

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Former Wizards forward arrested on armed robbery charges after stealing $100,000

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Former Wizards forward arrested on armed robbery charges after stealing $100,000

Former NBA player J.J. Hickson faces charges of armed robbery after breaking into a home near Atlanta, stealing $100,000 from the house, and physically assaulting a teenager who was inside, authorities said Monday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Hickson, who played eight seasons in the NBA with four teams before his brief appearance in Washington, is currently being held in Coweta County Jail without bond. 

He is currently affiliated with the Lebanese Basketball League but played 15 games with the Wizards during the 2015-16 season. Hickson averaged 4.6 ppg and scored a season-high 15 points against the Nets in the penultimate game of the regular season. He has not played professionally in the United States since.  Hickson played just one season at North Carolina State before being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 19 pick of the 2008 NBA Draft.

Jimmy Yarbrough, the sheriff's spokesperson in Coweta, said that while at least two people were involved in the invasion, only Hickson is being held and charged.

According to authorities, Hickson entered through a side door, armed with a knife and his face and head covered. He was initially apprehended by another department and later transferred into the custody of Coweta County law enforcement. 

At this time in the investigation, very little detail is publicly available.

The teenage victim, whose name remains private, received medical treatment for several broken bones and is fortunately in good condition.