Garrett Temple is on his way back to D.C. to work out at Verizon Center with some of his teammates before training camp beings, he told CSNwashington.com via phone Thursday afternoon, just as the Wizards' backup guard had his name appear in relation to the Utah Jazz.
It was news to him as he insists he hasn't heard from the Wizards or his agent, John Hamilton, about it. That doesn't mean, of course, that he won't when he gets here. Jazz beat reporter Jody Genessy of the Deseret News first floated this possibility earlier in the day:
I'm told the Jazz are interested in pursuing veteran guard Garrett Temple from the Washington Wizards to shore up their point guard platoon.
— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) August 6, 2015
Temple, traveling from his hometown of Baton Rouge, La., is a backup guard, mostly playing off the ball but good enough to handle it to break the pressure on John Wall, who opted into the second year of his deal in June.
The Jazz just lost second-year guard Dante Exum to a knee ligament tear earlier this week and are in need of depth. The Wizards, who already have Ramon Sessions and Gary Neal ahead of Temple in their rotation, have the maximum 15 guaranteed contracts for the 2015-16 regular season. They prefer to leave one spot open for flexibility going in to January when players are bought out of their deals and the trade deadline in February.
Such a move could give the Wizards salary cap relief pending on the swap (sending trade exception or unguaranteed deal for Temple that could be waived without penalty). The Wizards over the cap but still under the luxury tax which is an important distinction.
Still, this is a big if. They like Temple because of the options he gives them defensively with his wingspan and ability on that end. Even if he doesn't play much, he's used in end-of-game situations or to help make key defensive stands. Plus, the really like what Temple has brought to the locker room which has been a priority during the Wizards' rebuild back to respectability.
As good as new acquisitions Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson and Gary Neal can be on offense, they may feel Temple's defense makes him worth keeping.
Hamilton told CSNwashington.com later Thursday that he hasn't been informed by the Wizards that any such move is under consideration with Temple. This is still in the early stages. It could amount to something, or absolutely nothing.