Wizards

Quick Links

Morning tip: Wizards confident Paul Pierce will stay

usatsi_8540442_1.jpg

Morning tip: Wizards confident Paul Pierce will stay

The words of coach Randy Wittman were short and to the point. "Yeah," he snapped quickly when asked about Paul Pierce remaining with the Wizards for the 2015-16 season. And his feeling about where the veteran small forward ends up aren't unique.

CSNwashington.com has spoken with several people with knowledge of the situation in the past week, and the Wizards actually expect Pierce, who could still opt out for a bigger payday, to remain here:

  • Pierce was paid $5.5 million at the veteran mid-level exception last season. He could exercise his player option to void the second year of the deal with the Wizards and re-sign at 120% (an extra $1.1 million) under CBA rules for a raise. That's more than the salary-cap strapped Los Angeles Clippers, his strongest suitor, will be able to offer.

  • Nothing has changed with the core roster players. Pierce came to Washington because of John Wall and Bradley Beal, and their play in this past postseason didn't dissuade him in any way. Wall averaged a double-double after coming back with a broken left wrist vs. the Atlanta Hawks. Beal was the leading scorer who also locked down DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors) and Kyle Korver (Hawks) on the defensive end.

  • There's no plan to recruit Pierce to stay because he doesn't want or need that affirmation. However, the Wizards have paid repeated "homage" to the soon-to-be 38-year-old and given him the respect he craves. 

  • They took 6-7 small forward Kelly Oubre, who they acknowledge is a few years away from realizing his actual potential, in the first round of Thursday's draft. Otto Porter is the other small forward on the roster and has earned time. Oubre probably won't play much right away. If they expect Pierce to remain, trading up to get Oubre makes even more sense.

  • The path to the NBA Finals is a lot easier in the Eastern Conference. Will the Hawks be that good again? Probably not. Will the Cleveland Cavaliers make another run with LeBron James? Probably. But that's a lot more doable than the murderer's row out West with the champion Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies.

Pierce will give the Wizards an official answer as early as Tuesday, a few days before the free-agent signing period opens July 1. He has said this will be his final NBA season.

MORE WIZARDS: WELLS TO JOIN WIZ SUMMER LEAGUE

Quick Links

Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

Wizards working out Kentucky's Hamidou Diallo another sign the two sides might be a good fit

The University of Kentucky was well-represented at the Wizards' first pre-draft workout on Tuesday at Capital One Arena, as All-Star point guard John Wall sat courtside to watch a young player who could join him next season in Washington.

The Wizards hosted Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo just days after interviewing him at the NBA Combine in Chicago, Ill., another sign the 19-year-old is a legitimate option for their second round pick, set for 44th overall in next month's draft.

Diallo, who is originally from Queens, NY., said he is friends with Wall, as the two have crossed paths due to the Kentucky connection. 

"I feel like he knows what I'm capable of," Diallo said.

He now hopes the Wizards front office understands what he can do. Diallo is a defensive-minded wing who measured 6-foot-6 (with shoes) at the combine and with a 7-foot wingspan. He had the fifth-best max vertical leap at the combine, coming in at 40.5 inches. He was also the 12th-ranked player in the class of 2017 out of high school.

The measurables and pedigree are impressive, but Diallo's potential has yet to be realized. He didn't play a game despite attending Kentucky in the 2016-17 academic year. He tested the NBA Draft waters last summer before returning to Kentucky to average a modest 10.0 points and 3.6 rebounds.

Diallo has already worked out for the Chicago Bulls and will meet with plenty more teams, but is currently projected by most mock drafts to be a second round pick. This time he hired an agent and will definitely be making the leap.

"It feels good this year going through it with both feet in. It's been a great process," he said.

The Wizards like Diallo's defensive ability, his speed and awareness in the open floor and his potential to improve as a shooter. Diallo shot 33.8 percent from three on 2.1 attempts per game in the 2017-18 season.

"I hope to show my athleticism and how that plays a big part on the defensive end," Diallo said of his goals in pre-draft workouts.

"[The Wizards] are a team that wants to play fast and they have a fast point guard that needs players to keep up with him. That's what I tried to show in this workout, to show how fast I can play and show how composed I can play."

If the Wizards deem Diallo worth taking a chance on, he would provide a nice fit positionally. Though their second round pick could spend much of next season in the G-League, Diallo plays shooting guard and they have a need behind starter Bradley Beal. 

The Wizards see Tomas Satoransky as a possibility at backup shooting guard and Jodie Meeks is expected to return next season on a player option. But those guys were on the roster in 2017-18 and couldn't fill the void behind Beal, who logged more minutes than all but three players in the league. Meeks is also set to begin the 2018-19 season serving a suspension.

Diallo played at a big-time program and has the athleticism to compete at the NBA level early on. He could help a team improve long-term at guarding the perimeter, an area the Wizards have made strides in but still have a ways to go. That was seen in their playoff series against the Raptors when Toronto averaged 11.0 threes made per game and shot 41 percent.

Though it's early in the draft workout process, the Wizards have made it clear they are interested in Diallo.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

usatsi_10688305.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round pick, NCAA star

The Wizards will have some recognizable names at their second pre-draft workout on Wednesday including potential first round pick Aaron Holiday of UCLA, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Here is the list with some notes on each player...

Aaron Holiday, guard, UCLA (6-1, 185)

The brother of two NBA players (Jrue and Justin), Holiday played three years at UCLA and averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior. He also shot 42.9 percent from three on 6.2 attempts per game. He registered a 6-8 wingspan at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: possible first round pick, likely won't be there in second round; would solidify backup point guard position

Devonte' Graham, guard, Kansas (6-2, 175)

The Big 12 player of the year, Graham averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists as a senior. He posted a 6-6 wingspan at the combine. His uncle played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990s.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; would provide backup point guard depth

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, forward, Kansas (6-8, 195)

A big-time three-point shooter, Mykhailiuk shot 44.4 percent from three on 6.6 attempts per game as a senior. He averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could be a three-point threat off the bench

Moritz Wagner, center, Michigan (6-11, 241)

Originally from Germany, Wagner was a standout in the NCAA Tournament as the Wolverines went all the way to the final. He averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals as a junior. He also shot 39.4 percent from three and measured at nearly 7-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could develop into a capable stretch-five

Johnathan Williams, forward, Gonzaga (6-9, 225)

Williams began his career at Missouri before transferring. He averaged 13.4 points and 8.5 rebounds as a senior. 

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

Zach Thomas, SF, Bucknell (6-7, 228)

Thomas was the Patriot League player of the year with averages of 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from three for his college career.

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!