Wizards

Quick Links

Wittman: 'You know what? Flip would've wanted me to coach"

usatsi_8896121.jpg

Wittman: 'You know what? Flip would've wanted me to coach"

Before Randy Wittman could answer the first question about Saturday, when he arrived in the second quarter of the home opener vs. the New York Knicks because he attended the funeral of Flip Saunders, there was a long pause.

"It was a tough day," he said. What followed was a pause of almost 30 seconds and by the time his bowed head raised up his eyes were red and watery. It wasn't because the Wizards lost 117-110 to the New York Knicks, though the fashion in which they lost was angering enough, but he'd buried his mentor. 

"That aside we just got to get back. The commitment to defend is not there. You can make a lot of excuses but to score 110 points at home and lose by seven, that's what it boils down to. We're not committed right now. I've got to change that. We've got to change our mind-set. We talk a lot about offense and what we're doing and stuff but we got to get back to that. I can't come in at halftime and we were talking more about what we're doing offensively and we gave up 59 points. Our mind-set needs to change. That's the bottom line."

Carmelo Anthony hit every big shot down the stretch for the Knicks en route to a game-high 37 points. Langston Galloway's three-pointer with 63 seconds left pushed the lead to 111-106 and the Wizards couldn't recover.

"Carmelo is a hell of a player. He's a big part of what they do and he made some tough shots and that's going to happen," said Wittman. "They made some plays down the stretch and we didn't. Galloway hit a couple big ones and Carmelo hit a big one at the shot clock. ... It doesn't boil down to the last couple of minutes."

Wittman returned from Minnesota, where he coached with Saunders, for his services. Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld attended, too. Saunders, who died of lymphoma last weekend, coached the Wizards from 2009-11 before Wittman took over.

"I was there most of the day. I left early this morning and got my time with the family," said Wittman, who was asked if he considering not coaching at all Saturday. "You know what? Flip would've wanted me to coach. He wouldn't want me to miss a game based on him. I can guarantee you that. I had a good day with the family."

MORE WIZARDS: Melo Domination

Quick Links

Capital City Go-Go now allow Wizards make final roster cut to 14 and leave the 15th spot open

Capital City Go-Go now allow Wizards make final roster cut to 14 and leave the 15th spot open

On Saturday, two days before the deadline to finalize Opening Day rosters, the Washington Wizards waived four players - LaVoy Allen, Chris Chiozza, Chasson Randle and Tiwian Kendley - and in doing so trimmed their roster down to 14 players. That's one fewer than the NBA roster maximum of 15 players, meaning they opted to leave one of their roster spots vacant.

This was not a big surprise, but it's worth going through the reasons why they chose to do so for those who may be wondering. 

For one, the Wizards have a lot of money committed to their roster and could use some savings. They are fourth in the NBA this season with a total cap of $134.9 million. That is $11.1 million more than the salary cap limit, which means they are due to pay $19.1 million in luxury tax next year, according to Spotrac.

The Wizards also don't absolutely need that 15th player. They have two two-way players in Devin Robinson and Jordan McRae who collectively give them depth at a wide variety of positions. 

Under two-way contracts, they can be activated for up to 45 days this season before the Wizards have to decide on a fully guaranteed NBA deal. The NBA adjusted the rules this season to exclude travel days from that 45-day clock. The NBA days limit for Robinson and McRae also does not begin until G-League training camps begin on Oct. 22.

Speaking of the G-League, the Wizards have their own team now. The Capital City Go-Go will begin their inaugural season in November and that will give the organization the deepest stable of prospects (and roster spots) is has ever had. They now have much more room than ever to stash young players that would otherwise be considered for the final spot.

Even if the Wizards didn't have that option, as they did not last year, it wouldn't necessarily convince them to fill the last roster spot. Last season, they went without a 15th player for much of the year and for extended stretches only carried 13, the league minimum. They even rolled with 12 after the NBA trade deadline, as the league allows two weeks for teams to reach the minimum.

That recent history alone was enough to suggest they wouldn't fill the 15th spot. And, truthfully, that 15th spot rarely came into play as an actual need. This isn't the NFL where injuries make every roster spot incredibly valuable, or MLB where extra innings can sometimes make it feel like their rosters aren't deep enough.

Perhaps the Wizards will fill the 15th spot at some point this season. They can do so in a variety of ways, including if they trade one player for two. Just don't count on it, for all the reasons listed above.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Richard Jefferson announces retirement from basketball after 17 NBA seasons

richard-jefferson-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports

Richard Jefferson announces retirement from basketball after 17 NBA seasons

After a career that spanned 17 NBA seasons while playing for eight different teams, Richard Jefferson officially announced his retirement from basketball on Saturday via Instagram.

Jefferson spent the first seven years of his career with the Nets (then of New Jersey) before moving on to the Spurs, Bucks, Warriors, Jazz, Mavericks, Cavaliers and finally Nuggets. The Arizona alum was with Cleveland when the Cavs won the NBA title in 2015-16.

For his career, Jefferson averaged 12.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. He played particularly well against the Wizards, scoring an average of 14.1 points in 43 total games versus Washington.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: