Apr 24, 2013, 10:55 AM EDT
The Wizards roster that was assembled over the last year was really a multi-year plan — Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Nene each had multiple years on their contracts. The Wizards were locking themselves in.
So it shouldn’t be a shock that team president Ernie Grunfeld said the goal is to stick with the plan in Washington. He spoke with the media, including our man Ben Standig at CSNWashington.com, and the focus was largely “let’s see what this roster can do when healthy.”
First and foremost on the list this summer for the Wizards is to extend John Wall’s contract. But do you give him the max he wants?
“I think John had a very good year, and he showed that he makes a difference on the team. There’s no question about that, and he’s eligible for an extension. July 1 is the first day we can talk about that, and we’ll have conversations with him, his representatives, to see if we can work something out
Obviously, we’ve said all along that we’re building this team around John and with John. We want to have him here long term.
I think Wall is going to get a healthy offer from the Wizards, but not a max. Then the ball is in his court.
The Wizards have talked about re-signing free agent Martell Webster, that is a priority. But what about the other young players on the team who will be back on their rookie deals — Jan Vesley, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin?
“I think this is a big summer for all of them. They all need to improve, they all need to work hard. They all have a plan this summer, they will all be doing different things. Obviously, we did add six new players and those players got significant playing time. Consequently, those players didn’t play as much as they did the year before because we probably had better players this time at those positions and more experienced at this time. This is a big summer for the players and they have to improve. I think when they did get their opportunities, they had some productive moments, but it’s hard to play on a consistent level if you don’t have the consistent minutes.”
Look for Bradley Beal, Vesley and Singleton to play for the Wizards in Summer League.
And the other thing that seemed clear — Randy Wittman will be back as coach.
“I think Randy did a very good job for us this season. He kept the ship afloat. Kept the guys motivated. Kept them competitive on a nightly basis.”
Bottom line, Grunfeld wants to see what this lineup can do when healthy — which at the end of last season was an above .500 team, a playoff team. That’s the goal for next season.
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