Updated August 24, 9:00 a.m.
The Washington Wizards have agreed to terms with free agent swingman Martell Webster, according to reports.
Earlier today speculation bubbled up about the potential addition following a workout at the Verizon Center this week. Despite the addition of Bradley Beal and the decision to re-sign Cartier Martin, the Wizards' roster had room for another perimeter threat and the 6-foot-7 Webster is a career 37 percent 3-point shooter.
The No. 6 overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft averaged 8.4 points over his seven-year career. Last season with Minnesota, Webster tallied 6.9 points per game, but only knocked down 33.9 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. The Timberwolves released Webster this offseason in a salary cap clearing move.
The 25-year-old underwent back surgery prior to the start of the 2011-12 season, but according to ESPN's Marc Stein, who first reported the signing, is said to be making a solid recovery.
SI.com's Sam Amick is reporting the deal is for one-year, at $1.6 million, slightly above the league minimum.
OK, that's the newsy part of this post. Let's move to the analysis/speculation part. Wow do the Wizards have a crowded frontcourt, essentially three deep at every position. That's obviously not a terrible place to be and Wizards coach Randy Wittman now has tremendous lineup flexibility.
There is also the undeniable fact that there are not even close to enough minutes to go around up front - and that was the case before the latest move. Nene, Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor project as the starters with Kevin Seraphin as the top interior reserve. Trevor Booker's hard working ways keeps him in the rotation.
On most nights, that's your core group and we still have not touched on Webster or Martin -- or 2011 first-rounders Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton, who really has the look of the odd man out right now.
Factor in Shelvin Mack's uncertain role following the signing of free agent point A.J. Price and none of last year's rookies has a clear path for playing time entering training camp. Obviously over the course of an 82-game season there will be chances for the kids to shine, but the latest (and essentially low-risk) move further illustrates the franchise's sincere playoff push for the upcoming campaign.
Assuming his perimeter touch returns to career norms and back holds up (which could be a large assumption), Webster makes for a nice counter-punch at small forward to the open court and defensive-minded ways of Ariza. Of course, the Wizards already have another swingman shooter in Martin plus last year's primary starter at the position, Singleton.
All but Singleton could see minutes in the backcourt, but one wonders if the Wizards want to siphon away minutes from the projected shooting guard duo of Beal and Jordan Crawford. We know John Wall has the point guard role on lockdown.
With Webster in tow, the Wizards have 14 players under contract with space for one more, though the team likely keeps the slot open unless needed. Earlier reports suggested Washington had interest in additional free agents including Anthony Tolliver, Michael Redd, Terrence Williams and Shawne Williams. In the case of all with the possible exception of Redd, a veteran guard with ties to Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, the Webster signing would seemingly eliminate said interest.
With Webster in tow, the Wizards have 14 players under contract with space for one more, though the team likely keeps the slot open unless needed.
Earlier reports suggested Washington had interest in additional free agents including Anthony Tolliver, Michael Redd, Terrence Williams and Shawne Williams. In the case of all with the possible exception of Redd, a veteran guard with ties to Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld, the Webster signing would seemingly eliminate said interest.
Competition is a good thing, or at least that's what all coaches say in such situations. Well, the second-unit competition, particularly at small forward, just became even more interesting.Tags: nba, washington wizards, Martell Webster